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Should Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux be worried? Best look yet at 2023 Tesla Cybertruck shows big changes have been made to get electric ute launch ready

The Cybertruck appears to finally be closing in on its repeatedly delayed launch. (Image credit: Cybertruck Owners Club)

A near-production version of the divisive Tesla Cybertruck was spied from afar last month, but now we have our best look yet at the all-electric full-size pick-up thanks to a leaked up-close video and still images.

As expected, some big changes have been made to the Cybertruck to get it production ready, with an oversized vertical windshield wiper and black squared-off side mirrors among the necessary additions visible in post published a on Cybertruck Owners Club.

But compared to the prototype revealed in November 2019, the front end’s full-width LED light bar is thicker, and the bumper and air intake are larger, with the indicators and, possibly, DRLs hidden in the gap between the former and the stainless-steel body.

Around the side, production alloy wheels and all-terrain tyres are now fitted, while the flush doorhandles have been removed in favour of sensors built into the B- and C-pillars that enable a digital key to open the doors.

The side windows and sills appear to have grown, while the rear end’s tailgate is button operated, with it able to be either hinged flat or downwards, with latter allowing for bikes and the like to be ridden into the tub.

As reported, there are several reasons why the Cybertruck isn’t in production yet, with the prominent semiconductor shortage and question marks hanging over battery availability among them.

So, when will the Cybertruck finally start production? Several months ago, Tesla claimed it’s now on track for late 2022 (a year later than its original forecast), with it set to roll off the line at the new factory in Austin, Texas.

However, earlier this year, Reuters reported the Cybertruck’s US launch had been pushed back to the first quarter of next year.

Interestingly, Tesla boss Elon Musk admitted in an August 2020 interview with Automotive News that the Cybertruck was unlikely to be sold outside of its target market of North America due to safety regulation challenges elsewhere.

So, why does Tesla Australia continue to take pre-orders (with a fully refundable $150 deposit) for the Cybertruck on its website?

Clearly, there’s some hope the Cybertruck will eventually receive ADR (Australian Design Rules) approval – and that might come in the form of an upcoming second version. Yep, StreetInsider claimed last week it will be “about 15-20 per cent smaller”. Stay tuned.