Reading into the tea leaves of Elon Musk’s mini-car tweet

Scant information. No forewarning. Off the cuff. It’s an Elon Musk tweet.

It’s a slow Monday, so let’s speculate on what this latest tweet could mean:

It could mean nothing. Elon Musk does tweet about unicorns and squirrels from time to time. Then again, he also randomly tweets about things like traffic, from which The Boring Company came. The Boring Co is now building a tunnel connecting Chicago to O’Hare Airport.

Or, the tweet could be foreshadowing the future of individual passenger transportation. Musk said his mini-car would squeeze “an adult,” meaning one adult. Theoretically, a self-driven car would only need space for the number of passengers needing to be transported. A robocar designed to fit just one person would be fine for the passenger, and great for the environment. Consider the waste of space and weight when one passenger is transported by a sedan or truck. It would also be great for a company that could meet its customers’ needs while saving on manufacturing costs.

All that is required is for the transportation to be safe and convenient. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, hail a one-person-only robopod. If you don’t mind sharing with folks heading in the same direction as you are, order a shared robotaxi. If you have a big family, order a robovan to transport your family to the movies. Consider the elevator. It’s also an automated transportation container that moves people. And it varies in size from tiny to huge. As driverless infrastructure matures, automated vehicles will specialize. Might Tesla already be designing a tiny smartcar in preparation for such a future?

Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Elon Musk does make you consider what might be possible. Moreover, his tweets get attention. How valuable is it that he can effectively communicate with dozens of millions of interested parties instantaneously and for free?

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