The new Tesla Cybertruck had its second product introduction this past week. As with all Tesla product launches, it took longer than promised, the rollout delivery schedule is unclear and promises to be a slow trickle for the foreseeable future, and the prices were much higher than the media pretended they would be. The truck’s range was also lower than indicated. None of these matter to the Cybertruck’s fans who have been picking out accessories since the first launch in 2019.
We thought we would create a story today on some cost-of-ownership issues along with our predictions. That way, we can look back in about three years after a meaningful number of Cybertrucks have been in owners’ hands and see how well we did.
Cybertruck Collision Repair Costs
Tesla says that Cybertruck’s stainless steel body panels are “structural.” If this is true, it means that in a collision, even a minor one, the structure of the vehicle will be damaged. Using the term exoskeleton sounds great in sound bites, but will it sound good when the insurance adjuster says, “The exoskeleton is damaged?”
Electric vehicles are already being totaled in relatively minor accidents when battery compartments suffer any damage in a collision. Will minor damage to the stainless steel exoskeleton result in a total loss as well? Will repair shops be equipped to handle the needed work to bring the Cybertuck back to its original condition following an accident, or will special tools, materials, and training add to the repair cost?
Despite Tesla's marketing hype of full self-driving, the brand still doesn't have a hands-free driver-assist system long after other brands produced one. Tesla drivers have the highest accident rates, according to a recent study. Cybertruck owners may be driving toward a very expensive insurance premium.
Our Predictions Related To Cybertruck Collision Repair Costs
We predict the following will prove true with regard to Cybertruck’s repair costs:
-Cybertruck’s cost for repairs will be significantly higher than the cost to perform a similar repair on a mainstream pickup truck and higher even than other EV trucks.
-Cybertruck will prove to be more likely to be totaled in moderate and significant crashes versus similarly-priced mainstream trucks due to its higher than typical repair costs.
-Some delays in repairs as the industry adapts to the Cybertruck seem inevitable. This was true when other novel vehicles, such as the Model S and F-150 Lightning, appeared.
Auto insurance is a state-by-state affair in America. Each policy has as many as a dozen pricing considerations specific to the driver and the vehicle. That is why questions and posts about insurance costs are meaningless in social media clubs. However, the folks who price insurance know what vehicles cost the most, independent of individual driver factors.
Insurance.com says, “The average cost of Tesla insurance is $2,503 annually, based on a full coverage policy for a 2021 Tesla Model 3. That's well above the national average of $1,682 a year. Tesla car insurance costs are higher than many other car makes.” One reason given for the added cost is that “Tesla insurance is more expensive than average due to the specialized tools and parts required to repair it.” Will Cybertruck itself also have specialized tools, parts, and even procedures for repair? It would seem so since it is one of a very small list of vehicles that have stainless steel panels. And the fact that it appears to be the only vehicle built with an exoskeleton.
Our Predictions Related to Cybertruck’s Insurance Costs
We predict the following will prove true regarding Cybertruck’s insurance cost to owners:
-The Cybertruck will prove more costly to insure compared to a similarly-priced mainstream truck model.
-Insurers will offer widely varying policy premiums for Cybertruck owners. Meaning that an individual will find that prices are not similar from one provider to the next. While this is not all bad, it can make using insurance bundle discounting difficult.
Cybertruck Tire Predictions
Every Tesla model presently in production has proven to have a shorter lifespan for tires than mainstream vehicles of similar size and passenger capacity. Don’t take our word for it. We spoke to the service manager at a Massachusetts Tesla dealership (yes, in Mass., Tesla retail outlets enjoy full dealer privileges) and were told this. Visit any Tesla group on Facebook, and you can see that premature tire wear is a very common topic.
The Cybertruck has all of the elements that point to fast tire wear. These include high torque and high weight. In addition to a likelihood of premature wear, the Cybertruck is off-road oriented. This means that it is likely to be in situations where tire sidewall damage is commonplace.
We can already see pricing for Cybertruck tires. Tire Rack has options for the vehicle posted already. The least expensive option is the COOPER DISCOVERER AT3 XLT priced at $422. The BFGOODRICH ALL-TERRAIN T/A KO2 is priced at $462. For comparison, we priced out the 20” tires for a 2024 Toyota Tundra CrewMax. The least expensive option was the GOODYEAR WRANGLER TERRITORY MT priced at $260. The BFGOODRICH ALL-TERRAIN T/A KO2 was priced at $364. As you can see, the tires for the Cybertruck are much more expensive, even when we choose the same rim diameter and tire model.
We were not able to find the Cybertruck’s owner’s manual online to see what tire rotation schedule Tesla recommends, but the schedule for most of its vehicles is every 6,250 miles or sooner if wear exceeds a certain amount. This means that owners of Cybertrucks may have a lot of tire rotations to pay for. We can circle back to this when Tesla finally reveals the owner's manual for the truck it first launched four years ago.
Our Cybertruck Tire Predictions Are the following:
-Cybertruck will have a tire cost of about 25% to 50% higher than conventional trucks its size.
-Cybertruck’s tire rotation schedule will mean multiple service visits per year for owners. Or multiple DIY tire rotations per year if they do the work at home themselves.
Although the Cybertruck was first launched in 2019 and then again a second time this past week, there is insufficient data to predict how expensive it will be to own and maintain. The Cybertruck is the fourth battery-electric pickup truck to market, following the Rivian R1T, Hummer, and Ford F-150 Lightning. As time passes and the delivered units of these trucks begin to be meaningful, more information revealing the costs of owning these very expensive to buy vehicles will begin to emerge. Watch Torque News for updates.
Image of Cybertruck courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.