Well, this seems to be happening a little faster than most of us probably expected.
Last night’s announcement from Tesla delivered thrilling news for self-driving enthusiasts. With a complete suite of autonomous driving hardware at the ready, we are tangibly closer to the reality in which driverless cars roam the roadways. More specifically, we are incredibly close to the offering of on-demand ride sharing that was mentioned in Elon’s Master Plan, Part Deux.
Little nuggets of information are hidden throughout Tesla’s website that begin to lay out the details for how the autonomous on-demand ride sharing service will work. In the Design configurator, you find the option to purchase Full Self-Driving Capability which also states the following.
“It is not possible to know exactly when each element of the functionality described above will be available, as this is highly dependent on local regulatory approval. 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, details of which will be released next year.”
Teslarati has touched on this topic before, wondering Could Tesla’s ride sharing service make car ownership obsolete? The public has had some time to digest the idea of the Tesla Network for ride sharing. For many, the shock of the concept has worn off. I, for one, am very eager for its availability. I’m also reconsidering the notion that car ownership will become obsolete.
There are far too many variables at play for anyone to make predictions on the matter. Public adoption and the climate of our social and economic state are volatile beasts, but a product like this will likely transcend all of that.
I do still believe that autonomous ride sharing will decrease car ownership. The part that I am reconsidering is the specifics of which kind of cars will have reduced ownership. Teslas in particular are very likely to increase in personal ownership, while every manually operated car will see a sharp drop.
Consider this: I want a self-driving Tesla more than I want anything else, including bionic legs. I have even made the argument that I NEED it to survive. That being said, I, like many other people cannot justify the cost of a Model S or X…. alone. However, if I am willing to share the car with more people, I will also share the expense.
These Teslas are gearing up to fly off the lots. Or rather, drive themselves off the lots carefully to their new owners.
We electric vehicle and Tesla enthusiasts often speculate about the nail in the coffin for gas-burning cars. I think this might be the biggest one to date. Tesla’s autonomous ride sharing, combined with “superchargers that have automatic charge connection enabled” don’t make ownership obsolete, it makes gas cars and fossil fuels obsolete.