Tesla Robotaxis Coming This Year?

Technology / Comments

Elon Musk's latest claim is a little hard to believe.

Tesla stock currently trades at $751.94 per share (as of April 17, 2020). The company's stock prices have soared lately with the on-time delivery of the highly-anticipated Model Y, while there's still the Tesla Roadster and Cybertruck to look forward to. In fact, many financial experts believe Tesla is now the most valuable auto manufacturer in the world, even above giants like Toyota and Volkswagen. Without meaning to rain too much on Tesla's parade though, we must point out some worrying issues that should leave investors wary.

Take the Cybertruck, for example. Yes, more than 600,000 people signed up to pre-order it, but the reservation only required a minuscule $100 deposit. More worryingly, the Cybertruck was revealed before the company's last major reveal, the Roadster, has reached production. Then, there is the issue over the company's self-driving claims. By the way, Tesla says that all of these things would come to market this year.

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2017-2020 Tesla Model S P100D Front Angle View Tesla
2016-2020 Tesla Model X Dashboard Tesla
2016-2020 Tesla Model X Front Angle View Tesla
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For those who do not remember, Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, promised that there would be one million self-driving robotaxis on the road before the end of 2020. To check in on that claim, it is currently April 2020 and we haven't even seen so much as a reveal of a concept. Despite this, when Musk was recently asked about the availability for these robotaxis, he took to Twitter to proclaim, "functionality still looking good for this year. Regulatory approval is the big unknown."

That seems like a pretty big unknown and knowing the pace of the US government, the remaining eight months of the year doesn't seem like a long time to get approval. As another reminder, Tesla still lists 'Full Self-Driving Capability' as a $7,000 option despite never selling a single model with this feature enabled.

2017-2020 Tesla Model 3 Front View Driving Tesla
2020 Tesla Model Y Interior in White Tesla
2020 Tesla Model Y Front View Tesla

Adding full self-driving to existing Tesla models should mostly be a software change. In fact, many Tesla owners have already noticed a small camera in their interior. Musk says it is "for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft & people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet." Tesla has delivered on-time in the past, most recently with the Model Y, but we believe it will be a serious challenge to introduce autonomous robotaxis by the end of this year.

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