There’s been a lot of unanswered questions on how Tesla’s future ride-sharing program, dubbed the ‘Tesla Network’, will operate. In specific, how will owners monetize their vehicles especially if the company explicitly states that it can only be used for revenue purposes if achieved through the Tesla Network?
The statement, “Please note also that using a self-driving Tesla for car sharing and ride hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network”, noted in the description for the optional Full Self-Driving Capability available on the Model S and Model X, seemingly calls out Uber and Lyft as services that owners would not be able to monetize through.
CEO Elon Musk provided more insight on the Tesla Network during the company’s Q3 earnings call that discussed the company’s profitable quarter.
When asked by an analyst on whether the Tesla Network was something that was designed to generate income to help the company develop future product and gain market share, or a means to help owners offset the price of the car. Musk said, “It’s a bit of both, really.”
Musk said the program would be a revenue generator for Tesla and provide “a significant offset on the cost of ownership for a car”, but noted that “the majority of the economics wold go towards the owner of the car”. In other words, owners that participate in the Tesla Network will receive the lion’s share of revenue.
“It’s not Tesla vs. Uber, it’s the people vs. Uber.”
Musk then follows up the statement with a direct address of Uber and Lyft, implying that people will be empowered by freedom of choice. “Sometime’s it’s been characterized as Tesla vs. Uber, or Lyft, or something like that. It’s not Tesla vs. Uber, it’s the people vs. Uber.”
With a majority of revenue being passed to Tesla owners participating within the Tesla Network, it’s not so much a question of why you can’t use it within other ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft – services that take a significant revenue cut from their vehicle owners – but why would you.