For the longest time, Tesla and the company’s early vehicles, especially the Model S, 3, & X were infamous for inconsistent panel gaps, paint jobs with blemishes, improperly sealed doors that let water in, interior trims that rattle and shake, and so on.
The overall bad fit and finish of the vehicles gave Tesla a bad reputation and caused a lot of frustration among early customers.
Luckily for Tesla, the company’s vehicles were ahead of the competition in many respects including some major areas such as technology, design, and battery tech.
This allowed Tesla to still garner loyal fans despite the many fit-and-finish issues. Given Tesla vehicles’ lead in the most crucial areas, the early adopters of the company’s products gave Tesla a pass.
Elon Musk is Now the Proud Owner of a Fully Drivable Wooden @Tesla Cybertruck Following a Heartfelt Online Conversation. @elonmusk#tesla
— Torque News (@torquenewsauto) November 4, 2023
Around 2020, Tesla also started cleaning up its acts. Tesla designed the company’s new factories with a special focus on quality and consistency. Now vehicles produced in the new factories – Giga Shanghai, Giga Berlin, and Giga Texas are known for their minimal fit and finish issues.
Not only that, in many aspects, vehicles produced in the new factories are actually considered superior in consistency and fit and finish execution even than competitors who have had decades to perfect their process.
This is all well and good however, it could be argued that Model Y is simply a larger Model 3 and the Model 3 started production in 2017. If we accept this fact, it means it took Tesla years of producing vehicles with shoddy build quality to dial everything right.
From 2017 to now it’s 6 years that took Tesla to improve quality, however, unfortunately for the EV maker, Tesla is about to launch a new EV that doesn’t share almost any parts with the company’s prior EVs.
The Cybertruck, which is scheduled to make its first deliveries on November 30 follows a radically new design with a stainless steel exoskeleton, a new 48-volt low-volt battery system, a new 800-volt high-volt battery, new air suspension with 14-inches of travel, and so on.
And with all the new parts and processes coming with the Cybertruck, the old question of Tesla's poor quality appears to once again be rearing its ugly head. The first questions regarding Cybertruck fit and finish issues were raised by none other than Elon Musk himself.
After driving a Cybertruck Performance prototype with several fit and finish issues, Musk wrote a company-wide email, which was later leaked online, rallying his troops to get Cybertruck tolerances to below 10 microns.
At the time, Musk stated that given the Cbyertruck’s stainless steel finish, any inconsistency and panel gaps “stick out like a sore thumb.”
This was a couple of months ago, however, even after calibrating the Cybertruck production line for a few weeks now, the Cybertruck fin and finish issues appear to be persisting.
X user Daniel Golson was recently able to take close-up pictures of a Cybertruck prototype parked on what appears to be a dirt road. The close-up pictures he took of the tailgate, hood, and wheel arches show multiple areas where panels do not align.
I have a pre-order for one of these and I honestly feel like this thing is heading towards going down as one of the most mishandled flops in car history. https://t.co/rQfEPWNb9y
— Sebastiaan de With (@sdw) November 5, 2023
The one picture showing the tailgate mismatch is especially egregious and in addition to being aesthetically unpleasing, such type of panel gaps have a chance of becoming a functional nuisance in the long run possibly making the tailgate non-functional.
Another X user, who saw these pictures commented “I have a pre-order for one of these and I honestly feel like this thing is heading towards going down as one of the most mishandled flops in car history.”
This is only the second instance where we saw a Cybertruck prototype with inconsistent panel gaps, and to be fair to Tesla, we’ve also seen some prototypes with impeccable lines that feel like the entire vehicle was produced as a single piece.
However, the latest Cybertruck prototype sighting underlines Musk’s earlier statement that given the truck’s stainless steel finish any inconsistency sticks out like a sore thumb. This means not only does Tesla need to increase Cybertruck tolerances but, in order to avoid criticism, the EV maker will need to make Cybertruck panel gaps nearly perfect.
Given Elon Musk has made improving Cybertruck fit and finish a priority, we’ve high hopes for the vehicle. And we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the Cybertruck’s overall build quality throughout the rollout.
Until then, make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/Tesla regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Surprised to see a Cybertruck prototype with massive panel gaps so close to the delivery date? Do you think Tesla will be able to sort out these issues in a timely manner? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
For more information check out: Breaking: BBC Top Gear Spotted Filming a Detailed Review of a White Interior Tesla Cybertruck Ahead of Release
Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.