Whether you ordered your Cybertruck today or two years ago, what does your reservation number tell you about when your chariot will arrive?
If only it was easy math…
Look at your place in the queue, estimate production capacity, a little division, and voilà! You could figure out roughly when you’d have your Cybertruck.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case—though some people are trying with a crowdsourced spreadsheet unaffiliated with Tesla. If you’re a spreadsheet nerd and want to try to figure it out yourself, here are the variables you’ll want to consider.
Cybertruck Reservations-to-Sales Ratio
While Tesla doesn’t release any exact numbers with any frequency, in May 2022, Elon Musk stated, “We have more orders of the first Cybertrucks than we could possibly fulfill for three years after the start of production.”
If this makes your stomach turn, take a deep breath and say, “A reservation does not necessarily translate into a finalized transaction.”
Because the barriers to entry are so low—a $100 refundable deposit—the cancelation rate is likely to be high. Some reservation holders won’t have the financial capacity to purchase when the time comes. Others will have bought something else, such as the Rivian R1T, due to the long wait.
Another consideration: the people who reserved (hoping) to flip the Cybertruck for a profit.
Even if this percentage is on the smaller side, it means there’ll be some previously titled (technically pre-owned) Cybertrucks for sale. EV flipping is a thing, and some later reservation holders with more money than patience may decide to purchase a Cybertruck from one of these profiteers. Just like when someone in a long line abandons their stuff and storms off, this may slightly reduce wait times.
How you configure your Cybertruck will affect the delivery date.
The Cybertruck was originally supposed to come in four configurations: Single Motor (RWD), Dual Motor (AWD), and Tri-Motor (AWD), priced (in USD) at $39,900, $49,900, and $69,900 respectively. Today, there are no prices or configuration options on the Cybertruck reservation website. Instead, there’s a vague assurance: “You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears.”
At the 2022 Tesla annual shareholder meeting, Elon Musk said all these prices would have to change due to the chip shortage and inflation. He also announced the production of a Quad Motor (AWD) model. On December 3, 2021, he tweeted:
Based on this, anyone who doesn’t want the Quad Motor will have a longer wait. It makes sense that Tesla is prioritizing the most expensive model to maximize returns. There’s been speculation that the Single Motor configuration will not be offered, though Tesla has not confirmed this.
Does Location Impact When You’ll Get Your Cybertruck?
Yes, but there are no official answers as to how. Some people believe Tesla will prioritize reservation holders near its Texas Gigafactory where Cybertrucks and Semis will be produced. Others say it’s impossible to predict because we don’t know how Tesla defines its regions.
A crowdsourced Tesla tracker has around 37K entries as enthusiasts attempt to translate their reservation numbers into an expected delivery timeframe. The sheet breaks down reservation number concentration per square mile. Looking at the data this way results in smaller states like New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and Rhode Island, landing in the top five.
Another way to consider the data is based on the locations with the highest number of orders—without consideration for area density. After all, Rhode Island can fit in California about 149 times. Tossing the raw data from the tracker into Tableau lends insight into the hot spots for Cybertruck orders.
However, there are several caveats…
First, the data is based only on those Cybertruck reservation holders who completed a Google form to input their data into the spreadsheet. The data may not be representative of the population of all reservation holders. Second, because the location information isn’t in a standardized format, the data would require hours of scrubbing to compile a clearer picture. For example, some people input their region as “California,” while others wrote “Los Angeles, CA.”
While far from perfect, the graph suggests large numbers of orders in California and Texas (the US states with the largest populations), followed by Seattle and Phoenix. While East Coast locations such as Boston, NYC, Charlotte, Raleigh, and New Jersey are represented in the database, the West Coast and Texas take a definitive lead when square footage isn’t a factor.
How Tesla will handle allocation based on location remains to be seen. Will they use a geographic distribution strategy to ensure that Cybertrucks are being ogled on as many roads as possible? If so, someone holding a higher reservation number in Boston might get their vehicle before an earlier number in Austin. As far as overseas reservation numbers, it’s anyone’s best guess.
Bottom line: reservation number does not translate into a neat place in a sequential queue. Does it have any value, then?
Reservation Number & Other Factors
While your reservation number counts for something, Tesla’s algorithms are not public information. In addition, Tesla reservation numbers are not allocated per model. In other words, all reservations are lumped together, meaning that whether you order a Model Y or a Cybertruck, you’re in the same big numerical line.
Other factors impacting your waiting time include whether you’re a previous Tesla owner or a current employee. Yet these will likely pale in comparison to the most important factor of all…
What Will Tesla’s Cybertruck Production Capacity Be?
In the fall of 2020, at Tesla’s Battery Day, Elon Musk said it was hard to say that Cybertruck annual production of “like 250 to 300,000 a year, maybe more.” Assuming this is still the case, we can calculate best and worst-case scenarios.
For the sake of easy numbers, if production capacity is 250k/year and the number of reservations allocated to Cybertrucks is one million, that would equate to a four-year lead time for the last reservation holder. Without considering the other variables, using these numbers means that for every one out of four reservation holders who cancel, the wait time is reduced by a year.
The release of Tesla’s Semi seems to be on the near horizon, possibly before the end of 2022, with Cybertruck production scheduled for 2023. That’s not a guarantee, though, because, last but not least, there’s a factor that’s difficult to capture in any spreadsheet…
“Force majeure” is a legal term that allows parties in a contract to be held harmless to elements beyond their control. It’s sometimes colloquially referred to as “Acts of God.”
As far as Cybertruck production, it’s easy to imagine factors beyond Tesla’s control that would further delay the rollout. Geopolitical conflicts, supply chain snares, extreme weather events, and who knows what else could slow down production.
In October 2022, Tesla’s stock price dipped. Even though it had delivered a record number of EVs to customers, the number fell short of analyst expectations. According to the WSJ, Tesla cites vehicle transportation issues as a challenge, and this shortfall in Tesla deliveries serves as a reminder of how many things can go wrong in the automotive manufacturing and retail ecosystem.
The Art of Waiting
While it’s impossible to calculate with certainty when Cybertrucks will be ready for delivery, we’ll be able to get a better idea going forward. Considering not only reservation numbers but also configuration, location, and production numbers will be important.
Until then, you can get your spreadsheet ready with your best estimates and imagine running your fingers along that stainless steel exterior.