Tesla’s next blockbuster model, a three-wheeler?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently stated on appeared on the day.

Musk’s news aroused widespread concern in the market. After Musk's tweet, Tesla's stock price soared to $171.19 in after-hours trading, an increase of more than 3%.

Earlier, Reuters reported: "Tesla has canceled its long-term plan to develop low-cost cars for the public. Tesla will focus on building robot taxis, Robotaxi, which will use the same hardware as low-cost cars."

The "low-cost car" mentioned here is the long-rumored entry-level model "Model 2".

Musk responded strongly: "Reuters lied again." This suggests that Model 2 and Robotaxi will exist simultaneously.

Robotaxi was revealed in Walter Isaacson's biography of Musk.

Robotaxi will have an appearance similar to the Cybertruck and will be a two-seat model with double butterfly doors.

Unlike traditional vehicles, Robotaxi is equipped with a three-wheel layout of "two wheels on the front and one on the rear." As a compact model, its trunk can accommodate approximately two suitcases.

In terms of surface material, Robotaxi may also use the same super-strong stainless steel as Cybertruck, which can bring excellent safety protection performance.

▲(Robotaxi concept map. Source: "The Biography of Elon Musk")

No mirrors, no pedals, no steering wheel. This is me taking responsibility for this decision.
——Elon Musk

The Robotaxi will have no rearview mirrors, no steering wheel, or any pedals.

Musk said this with complete confidence.

It will be "highly optimized for autonomous driving," and all of this will be built on Tesla's years of deep work in the field of autonomous driving.

Tesla may also realize that such a car that relies entirely on intelligent driving may not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, there are also rumors that Tesla also plans to launch a regular version.

This variant will feature more traditional controls, including the familiar steering wheel and pedals, although manual operation will of course be allowed.

Perhaps the rumored “normal version” is Model 2.

Looking back at past reports, it is not difficult to find that Tesla has already been planning Robotaxi.

Musk said at an investor event as early as 2019 that car owners would one day be able to rent out their cars and make money through autonomous taxi services.

Tesla will provide the platform and technology for this service and will also receive a commission on each transaction.

As described in the second chapter of Tesla's ambitious plan, this will be the so-called "Tesla Shared Fleet."

It reads: “You can also easily set a button on the Tesla App to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet, allowing your car to earn income for you while you are at work or on vacation. Substantially offset or even exceed monthly loan or lease costs.”

Musk has described the service as something like Airbnb for cars, where owners can earn extra money by scheduling their cars to provide rides to others.

During Tesla's first quarter earnings call in 2022, Elon Musk also mentioned that Tesla is developing a car without a steering wheel or any pedals, with the goal of achieving mass production in 2024.

Musk said: "This car is fundamentally optimized and will calculate all data to try to achieve the lowest cost per mile, cost per kilometer." He also believes: "It will be a huge driver of Tesla's growth. "

The reason why Robotaxi can be launched this year, as Musk said, is related to Tesla's step-by-step advancement of FSD (autonomous driving technology).

Not long ago, Tesla released a firmware update in North America. The FSD "beta version" became a "regulatory version." There is a difference between two words, but there is a huge amount of information. This means that the three-year testing plan has finally come to an end.

According to the official statement, the latest FSD regulatory version "can drive a Tesla almost anywhere."

Of course, the official also mentioned that even if the FSD regulatory version is turned on, you must be extra careful and stay focused because "it will not enable your vehicle to achieve fully autonomous driving."

▲ (Picture source: X user WholeMarsBlog)

Musk has always believed in Tesla's fully autonomous driving function (FSD) and firmly believes that Tesla's FSD can do a lot. He even said that the driver can "go to sleep." Although this system currently still requires manual intervention, it is not completely autonomous.

He has repeatedly claimed that self-driving cars are only about "a year" away. Although this has almost become a meme in the eyes of netizens like "returning to China next week", most people are still looking forward to it.

The arrival of Robotaxi brings Musk’s vision closer.

In 1940, Norman Bel Geddes wrote a prophecy in his book "The Magic Highway", describing a future where cars would require no human operation at all.

Humans should be removed from driving.

Now, 84 years later, this vision may actually become a reality.

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