Tesla's CEO revealed that while technology for the company’s autonomous vehicle ridesharing network will be ready by the end of next year, it's still unclear as to when the service will actually launch.
According to TechCrunch, CEO Elon Musk spoke of the program during Tesla’s Q1 2018 earnings call on Thursday (May 3). He described a situation where people share their cars as a Lyft or Uber, or even as a Lyft/Uber-Airbnb combo “where you can own your car and have 100 percent usage of your car,” Musk said, and specify when it's available to others while you’re not using it.
“This is the obvious thing that’s going to happen,” Musk said.
Before the service can launch, though, Tesla needs to work out its autonomy issues, as well as secure a software platform to manage the ridesharing network. Musk said the cars Tesla is currently producing are capable of full autonomy.
“I think we’re really well-positioned,” Musk said, for having “ultimately millions of shared, autonomous electric vehicles.”
Last month, analyst Gene Munster said there’s a more than 50 percent chance Tesla will launch its ridesharing fleet by 2023, which could generate anywhere from $2 billion to $6 billion in revenue for the company.
Musk first alluded to the ridesharing program back in 2016: “Working on Top Secret Tesla Masterplan, Part 2. Hoping to publish later this week,” Musk tweeted at the time.
While many theories flew around, the one that gained the most traction was the rideshare option.
Musk also revealed on the call that Tesla will likely start producing the Model Y in early 2020, saying it will be a “manufacturing revolution.” The company will also begin publishing Autopilot safety statistics on a quarterly basis.
One potentially surprising note was that Musk said the company doesn’t plan to replace Jim Keller, the VP of Autopilot who recently left for Intel.
“If people are concerned about volatility, they should definitely not buy our stock,” said Musk.