Could Tesla’s ride sharing service make car ownership obsolete?

Everything from Elon’s Master Plan Part 2 is still resounding in my brain. I could go on about every single point. But for now, I just want to talk about the car sharing part.

I think it is safe to guess that there are a lot of people out there with similar thoughts. To me, a vehicle is a profound investment, done so exclusively for my family’s personal transportation. I keep my car clean. I get annoyed even when familiar and approved passengers have the audacity to push radio buttons or alter climate settings. I keep my kid’s car seats in there. Those are my sunglasses in there. For god’s sake, my sunglasses should not be victimized by some greasy stranger. My car is and should be calibrated to me, only me. It’s mine. I bought it. Me me me.

The idea of sharing my significant investment terrifies me, even if profit is involved. What kind of world is being proposed where I lose that sense of personal space and security of the vehicle for which I had set out and purchased? I get the concept. From a distance, I even like the concept. I could see myself as a respectful borrower of someone else’s car. It is just difficult to fathom the opposite arrangement. I understand that it will be completely optional. Still, I find it to be a strange concept. Tesla is not alone on this general idea. Google, ride sharing, and driving service companies have all suggested that they would like to replace privately owned vehicles with ones that are just a paid sharing service enhanced by autonomy.

“What kind of world is being proposed where I lose that sense of personal space and security of the vehicle for which I had set out and purchased?”

We should probably take a big step back and examine the bigger picture. I know I have likely jumped to some erroneous conclusions. Elon is very talented at teasing us and leaving out all detail. I would like to postulate that maybe Tesla’s version of car sharing won’t be as anonymous as I am fearing. Maybe we will get to select levels of availability for our cars. There may be a way to list pre-approved users of my vehicle that I know and can trust to not do weird things while sitting in it, unsupervised. Kind of like a social network of care sharing. Heck, you need a two-way mutual agreement on Facebook and LinkedIn to establish a connection. Can we expect the same idea with personal car sharing?

For example maybe my retired and aging parents could ditch their own cars and subscribe to using mine when it’s available. My elderly widow neighbor doesn’t need to be driving her own Buick anymore, she can use mine to get around. Then, when MY car comes to ME when needed, it should recognize me and adjust the seats and climate and radio to my preferences (as they already do). Maybe it can even lock up the glove box for everyone but me, keeping my sunglasses unmolested.

Ok, now I’m slowly warming up to the idea.

I know there are good and reputable people left in the world, but maybe they just need to pass my own background check prior to sitting in my Tesla. At the very least, I would expect there to be some sort of user rating system, where they can be refused service and fined for improper use. There may even be a built-in passenger facing camera that monitors other users in addition to my own driving attentiveness. My instincts say I should trust that Elon has the details worked out and that it won’t be the terrifying anonymous arrangements I’m fearing.


Shawn Brandt

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