Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla, has promised a futuristic car as Tesla’s (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report future vehicle.
It was thought that the long-awaited Cybertruck had pushed the limits of what could be done today in terms of cars, but the billionaire seems to think not. He just announced that Tesla is working on its robotaxi.
For Musk, robotaxi means self-driving cars, capable of operating with no one inside and able to pick up passengers and deliver them to customer-chosen locations.
Basically, a robotic version of Uber (UBER) – Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report Gold Lyft (LYFT) – Get Lyft, Inc. Class A Report.
On April 7, he promised that this vehicle, which will be neither the Model 3 sedan nor the Model Y SUV as he had hinted in 2019, will be a new model.
“There’s going to be a dedicated Robotaxi that’s going to look quite futuristic,” the tech tycoon said during the grand opening of the $1.1 billion Tesla factory in Texas.
He just gave more details during the first-quarter earnings’ call.
“We’re also working on a new vehicle that I alluded to at the Giga Texas opening, which is a dedicated Robotaxi,” Musk told analysts. “That’s a highly optimized for autonomy.”
No Steering Wheel or Pedals
This means that this car “would not have a steering wheel or pedals,” the mogul added.
“And there are a number of other innovations around it that I think are quite exciting. But it’s fundamentally optimized. For instance, trying to achieve the lowest fully considered cost per mile cost per kilometer.”
“I think it’d be a very powerful product,” Musk said.
The richest man in the world adds that Tesla plans to unveil this revolutionary vehicle in 2023 and start production in 2024.
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“We aspire to reach volume production of that in 2024. So I think that really will be a massive driver of Tesla’s growth,” Musk added without further details.
“We don’t want to jump the gun on an exciting product announcement too much so I think we’ll aim to do a product event for Robotaxi next year and get into more detail,” the serial entrepreneur said when pressed on details.
Ride Will Cost Less Than A Subsidized Bus Ticket
He did not say, for example, if Tesla was going to set up a subscription system or if it will be under the Uber model: an app that allows you to order the vehicle when you need it and then the race is debited directly of our credit card.
“I think especially with the Robotaxi and autonomy, we’ll end up providing consumers with the lowest cost per mile of transport that they’ve ever experienced,” Musk said. “With the Robotaxi like maybe five to 10 times or cost per mile, it’s really quite a substantial.”
As for the price of the ride, he hinted that it will be cheaper than the subsidized price of a bus ticket or a metro ticket.
“Look at some of our projections, it would appear that a Robotaxi ride will cost less than a bus ticket for subsidized bus ticket, for subsidized subway ticket,” Tesla CEO said.
He also said that Tesla remains on track to begin production of the cybertruck next year in Austin.
“The future is very exciting,” the billionaire said. “I’ve never been more optimistic or excited about the future, Tesla’s future than I am right now.”
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome to have a fleet of robotaxi would be to reach level five of autonomous driving, in other words where a car can drive itself without the presence of a human behind the wheel.
Driving assistance system currently developed by Tesla, full self-driving (FSD), sold for $12,000, does not allow vehicles to be autonomous.
But Musk has promised that FSD will be perfected and should make Tesla cars self-driving by the end of the year. It is important to note that the billionaire has already made this promise several times without ever realizing it.
There is also regulation. It is not certain that regulators will will be ready when it comes to autonomous cars by 2024.