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Monday, November 16, 2015

Model 3 Will Be The Cornerstone of Tesla's Uber Fighter

First there was Tesla Motors, the electric car company. Then, in 2015, Tesla Energy was introduced. What's next for Tesla? Based on comments in the recent earnings call, we may be seeing Tesla Transportation, the autonomous taxi service.


During Tesla's Q3'15 earnings call Adam Jonas from Morgan Stanley asked Elon Musk “If Uber wants to buy 50 thousand autonomous cars, why not cut out the middle man and deploy your Tesla autonomous mobility service?”

Elon laughed and refused to comment. Jonas persisted, asking if that was a dumb question and asking why Elon was laughing. Elon replied “It's quite a smart question actually.” Jonas continued to press and Elon said that “Our strategy is not fully baked. We'd prefer to announce something when we think we've got the full story understood.”

This certainly implies that Tesla is considering something in this space. What other things has Tesla done that might indicate their plans?

Tesla has previously released a video of the "charging snake" that can automatically plug in a car for recharging. Plugging in is not that hard for a person to do. It is not a significant problem that would warrant the engineering effort needed to make a Doc Ock arm.  


If, however, these self-driving cars need to charge up, they would not have a driver to plug them in. So, perhaps the charging snake was part 1 of the autonomous fleet plan.

What will Tesla's plan look like when it is "fully baked"? Will it be a car sharing service or an on-demand taxi? Will be be pay-per-ride or a membership?

The affordable mass market Tesla Model 3 will undoubtedly play a large roll in whatever Tesla has planned in the mobility on-demand space. If they want to put vehicles in major markets around the world, that would be expensive to do with $100k vehicles.

So someday soon (2020?) you may be able to summon an autonomous Tesla to chauffeur you around.