Written by: Matthew Bird
On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the company's plans to compete with Uber and Lyft by using an autonomous ride-hailing fleet, which will be made up of what Musk described as robo-taxis.
These robo-taxis will operate on the Tesla Network, which is basically a ride-hailing platform.Robo-taxis can be essentially any Tesla vehicle with autonomous-driving functionality.Musk said that by "next year for sure, we will have over 1 million robo-taxis on the road."Robo-taxi's will be significantly cheaper for riders than what Uber and Lyft cost today, Musk said, and will offer Tesla owners the opportunity of making upward of $30,000 per year."The fundamental message that consumers should be taking today is that it is financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla," Musk said.According to a recent article in Business Insider, Tesla is all-in on its plans to take over the ride-hailing industry. On Monday, CEO Elon Musk
revealed the company's plans to compete with incumbents like Uber
and Lyft LYFT[NGS] - $60.25
with the company's strategy for an autonomous ride-hailing fleet.Robo-taxis are essentially any Tesla vehicle with autonomous-driving functionality. To turn a Tesla into a robo-taxi, a car's owner simply adds it to the Tesla Network platform by way of the company's app.Musk said that by "next year for sure, we will have over 1 million robo-taxis on the road."
Here Comes the Tesla Network
Riders will be able to summon a robo-taxi via the same Tesla app — similarly to how they call for an Uber or Lyft today. The key difference, of course, is that there won't be a driver in the car.Musk acknowledged the regulatory limitations and that not all regions will openly approve the company's futuristic tech right away. Still, Tesla's chief exec said he's "very confident" in predicting the launch of the robo-taxi program by next year in certain parts of the US.Musk also predicted rides via robo-taxis will cost significantly less. The average cost for a trip from a ride-hailing service today is about $2 to $3 per mile, he said, whereas Tesla's program will likely come out to be less than $0.18 a mile.For Tesla owners, there's significant money to be made as well, Musk said. A single robo-taxi could provide about $30,000 worth of profits per year, and over a couple hundred thousand dollars over the lifespan of the vehicle, he said."The fundamental message that consumers should be taking today is that it is financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla," Musk said. "It will be like owning a horse in three years. I mean, fine if you want to own a horse. But you should go into it with that expectation."Tesla's "Autonomous Day" comes just two days before the company's earnings call, which some on Wall Street called a move to distract investors from a weak first quarter. Also, the robo-taxi announcement comes after Lyft's public-market debut at the end of March and ahead of Uber's expected initial public offering sometime in May.By: Matt Bird
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