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Tesla Cybertruck, Gigafactories and Tesla Semi as priorities for 2022

After seeing the impressive numbers of Q4 2021, it is very easy to realize that 2022 looks more than promising for Tesla. There are 3 items that we believe Elon Musk's company should put the spotlight on during this year: the long awaited Cybertruck, the opening of the 2 Gigafactories (Texas and Berlin) and the volume production of the Tesla Semi.

The numbers published yesterday regarding the production and deliveries of Tesla in Q4 (almost a million units delivered) are really impressive; even more so if we take into account the growth from year to year (87% YoY). But without denying the importance of those numbers and the positive impact at the stock market level for Elon Musk, we want to put the focus of 2022 on the 3 issues that in our opinion are the most important at this point: the Cybertruck volume production, the opening of the 2 Gigafactories (Texas and Berlin) and the mass production of the Tesla Semi.

There are plenty of articles about the Cybertruck specs and capabilities, as well as range and technology that it will include, so we won´t be talking in detail about that; instead, I´ll be talking about the Cybertruck design and volume production: as we all know, and according to Musk, it was inspired by Blade Runner and the Lotus Esprit driven by James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me, which doubled as a submarine. The Cybertruck uses unibody construction (termed an "exoskeleton" by Tesla) like most passenger cars, rather than the body-on-frame construction which is typical of trucks, as a standard vehicle frame would conflict with the under-floor battery pack. It uses unusually thick 3 mm (1⁄8 in) 30x-series cold-rolled stainless steel body panels, which cannot be stamped like conventional automobile parts. The panels can only be bent along straight lines, resulting in a very distinctive faceted design which has been called "low-poly" or likened to origami. This material is the same material SpaceX (also owned by Musk) uses on their Starship Rocket, because it distributes stress more evenly and allows for more interior volume.

Tesla Cybertruck, courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Earlier design concepts for Cybertruck had included using titanium for the outer panels, but this was later switched to stainless steel for additional strength, using an alloy that was developed in-house by Tesla. All that said, and apart from many other high-tech specs, actual volume production is expected to begin sometime in 2022 (hopefully soon…), but in terms of timing, Tesla is not usually very compliant with schedules; again, hopefully I am wrong. As per the latest information in an article by Tinsae Aregay in TorqueNews last December 3rd, "… the Cybertruck was originally scheduled to start production by the end of this year (2021); however, the worldwide parts shortage coupled with battery constraints have forced Tesla to delay the start of production to the end of 2022. Tesla has also recently removed all pricing and variants of the Cybertruck from the company’s online configurator."
So, this should definitely be one of the main issues in 2022 for Tesla: Cybertruck volume production, the sooner the better.

The second main focus, in my humble opinion, would be to finish construction and start production at the 2 Gigafactories: Texas and Berlin. Gigafactory Texas (also known as Tesla Gigafactory 5 or Giga Texas) is the automotive manufacturing facility near Austin, Texas, under construction by Tesla since July 2020. Tesla was aiming to have first production before the end of 2021 (which did not happen) and volume production in 2022. The factory is planned to be the main factory for the Tesla Cybertruck and the Tesla Semi. It will also produce Model 3 and Model Y cars for the Eastern United States, as well as being the site of Tesla's corporate headquarters.

Tesla Gigafactory, courtesy of Tesla Inc.

On the other hand, Tesla Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg (also known as Gigafactory Berlin, Gigafactory 4 or Gigafactory Europe) is the European manufacturing plant for Tesla under construction in Grünheide, Germany. The campus is 35 kilometres (20 mi) south-east of central Berlin on the Berlin–Wrocław railway, which forms the north border of the site between Erkner station and Fangschleuse railway station; and the A10 motorway, which forms the west border. Construction work had begun by June 2020 with initial foundation work underway, the set up of the first four construction cranes, and the beginning of the arrival of trainloads of building materials including pillars and beams. Musk had stated at the time that the construction would come together at an "impossible-seeming speed" due to the use of prefabricated construction techniques. On 9 October 2021, Tesla held the official Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg County Fair where they invited 9000 local guests to tour the factory, but as of today, there is still no precise information as to when the official opening of the factory will finally take place, as apparently there are still some issues regarding the authorization/permits.

Giga Berlin, courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Finally, the third most important issue (again, in my humble opinion) to tackle in 2022 should be the Tesla Semi. It is an all-electric battery-powered Class 8 semi-truck in development by Tesla, to which we referred in many articles before. Two concept vehicles were unveiled in November 2017, and production is planned in 2023; even though we insist it should be a priority for the year 2022. The company initially announced that the truck would have a 500 miles (805 km) range on a full charge and with its new batteries it would be able to run for 400 miles (640 km) after an 80% charge in 30 minutes using a solar-powered "Tesla Megacharger" charging station. Musk said that the Semi would come standard with Tesla Autopilot that will allow semi-autonomous driving on highways, among many other interesting features; but apart from the widely known specs, we just want to put emphasis on the fact that Tesla should make all possible efforts to actually start the long awaited Semi volume production in 2022, as it would really be a breakthrough in transportation that would disrupt and positively affect many other related industries (not to mention the beneficial environmental impact itself).

Tesla Semi, courtesy of Tesla Inc.

What do you think? What are the 3 things Tesla should be focusing on in 2022? Please let us know your opinion in the comment section below.

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.


Colonossus (not verified)    January 7, 2022 - 4:10PM

So you're "advice" to Tesla is just to re-state what they have already said their focus will be in 2022? Brilliant!