The Tesla Cybertruck has huge potential, there's no doubt about it. With more than 1.6 million pre-orders reportedly in the bag, Tesla's biggest challenge will be to ensure it has enough manufacturing capacity to satisfy demand for its first electric pickup truck.
Despite the Cybertruck's high number of reservations, some industry experts and analysts, including Morgan Stanley, don't expect it to become more than a niche product that won't be able to compete with mainstream pickup trucks.
Elon Musk contradicted them earlier this month when he said he expected Tesla to sell 250,000-500,000 Cybertrucks every year once production is fully ramped up.
ARK Invest, a longtime Tesla bull, is even more bullish on the Cybertruck's prospects. In a recent blog post signed by Sam Korus, the investment firm anticipates the Tesla Cybertruck will be a mainstream product that may even surpass the Model Y in popularity. In ARK's view, the low expectations for the Cybertruck are "based on a blind spot."
"Today, most automakers fund the development and sales of unprofitable EVs with profits from their gas-powered truck sales. If the Cybertruck were to disrupt that profit center, traditional automakers could end up in trouble."
ARK cites its own research that shows that global EV market share is likely to scale to over 70 percent by 2027, and the US will not be far behind.
Gallery: Tesla Cybertruck
The company also cites a forecast from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) according to which trucks are expected to make up 69 percent of all vehicles in the US by 2050. However, electric trucks are expected to only constitute 10 percent of the total, per the same forecast.
ARK strongly disagrees with the latter part, estimating that the Tesla Cybertruck could be as mainstream as the Model Y. The investment firm says the 1.6 million pre-orders and early Google Trends data suggest that. More specifically, ARK says the number of Google searches for the Cybertruck exceeded those for the Model Y on April 2, 2023, just as Elon Musk tweeted that he was walking the Cybertruck production line.
Isn't it a bit too simplistic and unscientific to forecast that based on Google Trends data alone? Maybe, but ARK says the search volume that day originated in truck-loving geographies, "potentially suggesting desire to buy." Mind you, that might also suggest mere curiosity from truck fans.
"While sell-side analysts may be uncomfortable forecasting exponential EV growth, we believe it would be a mistake for them not to consider the implications Cybertruck success could have for traditional automakers."
What do you think about this bold prediction? Do you believe there's any chance the Cybertruck will become as popular as the world's best-selling passenger car – not just EV – at the moment?