The baby Tesla will mostly be used as an autonomous vehicle when it arrives.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company's upcoming affordable EV will operate mainly as an autonomous car when it eventually arrives, reports Carscoops.
Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Conference, Musk said the newcomer (rumored to be called the Model 2) will "be used almost entirely in autonomous mode." He added that self-driving is an integral part of Tesla's future. "People that have used Tesla Full-Self Driving have seen how rapidly the Full-Self Driving capabilities has been evolving; it should be obvious that [this] is the most profound thing [for Tesla].
Last year, the outspoken chief executive said that a small car was not a priority for Tesla. That quickly changed, though, with Musk saying an entry-level EV is the "primary focus of our new vehicle development team."
The company has said the Model 2 would debut a next-generation platform that would be cheaper to produce and, therefore, more affordable to buy. Musk initially said the newcomer would cost as little as $25,000, but we doubt that. It will undoubtedly undercut the Model 3, which, as a reminder, retails from $42,990.
Recently, spy images from China showed a bizarre prototype that appears to be a mishmash of Tesla components and a Mazda CX-30. We speculated that this could be an early test mule for the upcoming compact EV and that Tesla may be using the CX-30 in the development stages.
Returning to Musk's comments on autonomous cars, he remarked that passenger cars are generally used for 10-12 hours a week.
However, if they were capable of self-driving, they'd be able to be utilized for upwards of 60 hours and serve as an autonomous taxi of sorts, earning the driver extra cash. "That's five times the value of a car, and it costs the same to make the car. At that point, you basically have software margins in a hardware product," added Musk.
The idea of a Tesla robotaxis isn't new, and the company has been promising this for some time. Many years have passed, though, and there's still no sign of it. Whether the Model 2 will debut with these abilities remains to be seen, but we will believe it when we see it.
With Tesla's Full-Self Driving at the center of a safety recall, we don't see it happening anytime soon.
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