Tesla & Car Ownership
If our Meme Lord Elon Musk does what I (and others) think he’s going to do
I’ve seen this topic surface a few times in the past couple of years, especially now with the FSD (Full Self Driving) beta out for almost 2 weeks now. Zack & Jesse at Now You Know recently covered this as well on their recept “In Depth” video (linked above).
Yes. That’s right. Car ownership just might go away entirely, at least for anyone that wants to use a Tesla.
Wait. Not everyone has or wants a Tesla. What about them?
And you would be correct. This potential “robotaxi” network of autonomous “Ubers” would not affect those that would still want to drive and/or get in and/or care about Teslas or electric transportation in general. However, if Tesla is planning on spooling up more Giga (or Tera) factories with more and more production lines ramping up… doesn’t leave much room for competition. Especially once Tesla’s autonomous network has booted up and FSD comes out of beta.
As the guys highlighted in the above video, we only use our cars for a very small fraction of the time that we own them. Why would Tesla simply sell us a car that’s hardly used when they can make multitudes more with the same car running 24/7 (outside of charging) on their ride-sharing service? Even if you did buy the car and put it on their network, it’s still a money printing service but now Telsa owes you a cut of that constantly-flowing revenue. Now, if you were Tesla, wouldn’t you rather eliminate the middleman from this equation if it significantly ramped up your revenue as well as your profit? Exactly.
This is also where a lot of Tesla’s competition, nay any company that’s not properly investing in the electrification of their vehicles as well as autonomy, is falling short. Not only will they be “caught with their pants down” in a few years, but they might be bankrupt if they don’t accelerate their adaptation rate into the future of sustainable automobiles.
Even if you absolutely despise Tesla, what if you could eventually call up an autonomous vehicle literally anytime and anywhere you needed transportation? What if said autonomous service was so good that you wouldn’t need a car? Now that you and many others don’t need cars, what if you could change the seemingly infinite amount of parking facilities? What if these were now parks, schools, libraries, and/or other service locations? What if you needed fewer car lanes and could add more bike lanes? What if autonomous driving allowed for faster speed limits, just like how the hyperloop concept can outrun any type of train?
What if only Tesla could do all of this? What if you had to pay six-figure amounts to another car company for the same(ish) amount of autonomous flexibility and freedom?
Sounds great, but this isn’t deploying tomorrow or anytime really soon
Sure, it will probably be a good 5–10 years before Tesla will have a fully functioning “robotaxi” fleet. On the other hand, this isn’t exactly 50 years away either. There is a lot of corner cases yet to be discovered. The FSD beta, as fast as Tesla is collecting data and deploying Over The Air updates, is still only in the USA. You’re right, proper FSD and the autonomous fleet might not be activated in 2021. However, with the epic “Dojo” neural software powering the software-first neural fleet of cars, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s out in 2025. Several beta testers of FSD have reported cases of their Teslas uploading gigabytes of data from their cars over their home internet router to the neural net almost on a daily basis. With this rate of machine learning and invaluable amounts of field testing data being collected, it won’t be much longer.
As they say, history repeats itself quite often. This is strongly evident in the world of adoption curves. Horseshoes, floor model TVs, rotary phones (or stationary phones at that), movie rental stores… should I continue? I know all of these aren’t completely gone… but they aren’t exactly sold to the masses anymore either. If anything, they’re purchased and/or acquired for nostalgic reasons.