Will the ‘Tesla Network’ Break Into the Ride-Sharing Market?
“This is the obvious thing that’s going to happen.” That was Elon Musk’s reply when asked if Tesla will make a robo-Uber ride-sharing network. The ‘Tesla Network’ has been a feature of Elon Musk’s master plan since 2016. Under this plan, once Level 4 or 5 autonomy is achieved, Tesla car owners would be able to order their car to work for them, picking up and dropping off passengers for a fee.
These fees could add up. A working robotaxi has the potential to generate significant amount of revenue– for Tesla car owners, and Tesla, itself. Consider a Tesla robotaxi working 20 hours a day. Even if the robotaxi were earning just $15 an hour, that translates to over $100,000 per year.
Given that 2/3 of the cost of a taxi or Uber is the driver, himself, Tesla robotaxis would have the advantage of lower operating cost, allowing Tesla to drastically lower the price of a ride to gain market share from Uber. But would customers, who have depended on Uber’s service for years, make a switch to include Tesla robotaxis? Would mostly high-end Tesla owners be willing to send their cars out into the ride-sharing network? The long-term prospects for Tesla may depend on it.