Elon Musk and Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report have revolutionized and continue to transform the automotive industry.
Nearly 20 years after the creation of the company — Tesla was founded in 2003– they are finally seeing their domination and their achievements become the benchmark to be copied for both legacy carmakers and new car manufacturers.
But CEO Elon Musk and Tesla do not seem to want to rest on their laurels. On the contrary, they want to knock out the competition and tighten their yoke.
Musk just opened a fourth vehicle production plant. This factory, based in Austin, Texas, is Tesla’s second production site in the United States. The other two are in Shanghai, China, and near Berlin, Germany. The company, therefore, has a factory on three different continents, which allows it to serve important markets, starting with China and Europe, the two leading EV markets in the world. The four plants have combined production capacities of at least 2 million units per year at the peak of their production capacities.
2023, a Defining Year for Tesla
Elon Musk promised in January, during the fourth quarter earnings’ call, that he will announce the locations of new factories by the end of 2022.
This punching power will allow Tesla to meet the demand for electric vehicles which is soaring, while its competitors are struggling to manage the disruptions to supply chains triggered by the covid-19 pandemic and exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But as if that weren’t enough, the mogul has just announced a roadmap of products to make the rest of the industry green with envy. In 2023, Tesla promises to produce the long-awaited Cybertruck, a new Roadster, and the Tesla Semi. The company hopes to start production of its humanoid robot Optimus as well. It’s worth noteworthy to mention that Tesla already markets the Model S luxury sedan, the Model X luxury SUV, the Model Y SUV, and the Model 3 entry-level sedan.
If Tesla keeps its word, the group will offer a vehicle in almost every segment of the electric market: sedans, SUVs/Crossovers, and pickups/trucks. As if that were not enough, Elon Musk has just made a new promise, that went almost unnoticed.
A Futuristic Tesla Robotaxi
Tesla is working on a new vehicle and not just any.
“There’s going to be a dedicated Robotaxi that’s going to look quite futuristic,” the tech tycoon said on April 7 during the grand opening of the $1.1 billion Tesla factory in Texas.
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This is not the first time the billionaire talked about Tesla robotaxi.
In April 2019, Tesla held an event called “Autonomy Day” to showcase the autonomous driving technology the company builds into every Tesla.
“I feel very confident predicting autonomous robotaxis for Tesla next year, the billionaire said at the time, before announcing a vast plan for 1 million such cars operating on public roads by the end of 2020.
For Musk, robotaxi meant self-driving cars, capable of operating with no one inside and able to pick up passengers and deliver them to random locations. Basically, a robotic version of Uber (UBER) – Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report or Lyft (LYFT) – Get Lyft, Inc. Class A Report.
Tesla planned therefore to make the existing Model 3 the basis for a fleet of self-driving taxis.
In view of Musk’s new statements, the robotaxi will therefore be a new vehicle that does not currently exist in Tesla’s portfolio. It will be a new model with a completely new design.
However, no other details or specifications were shared. The entrepreneur didn’t for example provide date of entry into production, and did not show a visual.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome to make this promise a reality would be to reach level 5 of autonomous driving, in other words where a car can drive itself without the presence of a human behind the wheel.
Driving assistance system currently developed by Tesla, Full self-driving (FSD), sold for $12,000, does not allow vehicles to be autonomous. But Musk has promised that FSD will be perfected and should make Tesla cars self-driving by the end of the year. It is important to note that the billionaire has already made this promise several times without ever realizing it.