Tesla sets Robotaxi reveal for Aug. 8

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Tesla will unveil its Robotaxi August 8, CEO Elon Musk announced Friday.

In his typical fashion, Musk made the announcement on X (formerly Twitter), the social media site he owns. The post included the date with no further details.

According to a Reuters report earlier in the day, Tesla has reportedly dropped its $25,000 affordable EV project in favor of robotaxis, a term for shared autonomous vehicles. The report said the Tesla Robotaxi will be built on the same platform as the scrapped $25,000 EV, sometimes referred to as the Model 2, but in smaller numbers.

Tesla in 2022 said the platform to be used by these vehicles could cost half as much to make, which would have been a key factor in the affordable Model 2.

Musk has been periodically talking about this idea of revenue-generating self-driving taxis since 2019. At that time Musk suggested that Tesla would provide the interface and support, collecting a fee of 25% or 30%.

Robotaxis could perhaps use the wireless inductive charging tech Tesla is thought to be adopting, as that would eliminate the need for a human minder to plug them in. But more important will likely be a completely different hardware set for autonomous driving, as Tesla’s Full Self-Driving functionality continues to attract scrutiny and won’t be a system allowing the driver to focus away from responsibility anytime soon. And Musk’s claim years ago that the Tesla Model 3 would be an appreciating asset due to self-driving capabilities has simply not come to fruition.

Arrival Car prototype

Tesla recently sold 6 million cumulative EVs, but robotaxis could be a wholly different challenge. Heavy investments in robotaxi technology and a failure to return on bullish projections for shareholders are, for instance, partly what cut former Ford CEO Mark Fields’ tenure short.

Previous non-Tesla efforts to develop an EV for Uber haven’t gone anywhere. Could Tesla drive Uber out of business, or is this another project, like the second-generation Roadster, that will be shown as a concept then kicked ahead years beyond an original launch point?



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