Tesla App update shows Vehicle Sharing features could come soon

Credit: Tesla Inc.

Tesla is set to update its Smartphone Application with new features that would enable vehicle sharing between drivers, and it could be on the way very soon.

Tesla vehicle sharing has been the plan of the automaker for some time, especially after its mass-market Model 3 and Model Y vehicles became scaled and have been under regular production for several years. The two vehicles are Tesla’s most popular and would be the most ideal candidates for vehicle sharing features that would allow owners to make reasonable sums of money by simply loaning the cars out. In the past, Tesla has estimated that vehicle sharing services, along with the company’s Robotaxi fleet, could make owners up to $40,000 per year.

Over the years, Tesla has slowly added features that would hint toward an eventual vehicle sharing program. In April 2019, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla’s cabin-facing camera would be used to monitor occupant behavior in the ride-sharing and Robotaxi programs, which come from vehicle sharing. “It’s there 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. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video,” Musk wrote.

Additionally, in April 2020, Tesla launched the “Car Access” feature, which allowed primary vehicle owners to add drivers to the car, giving them permissible access to the vehicle. This essentially gave the “new driver” access to the Tesla App, letting them control the vehicle from anywhere. We tried it with a Tesla in California, while I operated the car in Pennsylvania.

Now there is evidence that more Vehicle Sharing features could be added to the app. @Tesla_App_iOS on Twitter tracks updates to the Tesla Smartphone application, and new software coding showed that vehicle sharing features could be introduced.

Ultimately, this is likely another step toward ride-sharing, Robotaxi, and general vehicle sharing services. However, Tesla is nearing the introduction of autonomous vehicles with every mile driven thanks to its Neural Network. Its Full Self-Driving-equipped vehicles, especially in the Beta program, are accumulating vast amounts of data that make the vehicle’s performance more accurate and robust. Eventually, this will lead to Level 5 autonomy and the eventual introduction of the Robotaxi fleet. The features could also be ideal if a vehicle is being borrowed, especially if the primary owner can limit features and see how their vehicle is being treated with the cabin-facing camera.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at joey@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at tips@teslarati.com.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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