Tesla Cybercab.

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Tesla Cybercab illustration.

Tesla is supposed to show us their RoboTaxi called the “Cybercab” on August 8.

We’ll see what we get that day. It won’t be the Tesla the world wants, which is a new compact and cheaper model than the Model 3 as we expected for years. Instead, it will be a self-driving car. According to rumors and soy shots, a 2-seater self-driving car. It will be part of Tesla‘s new ride-sharing service, competing with Uber.

This could be, at best, a pretty limited market. We are far from the 20 million yearly production crazy Elon Musk was processing a couple of years ago.

I have seen ride-sharing cars before. LADOT is still around in Los Angeles. It seems you can “rent” an EV for a few minutes or longer to get somewhere. I saw something in Europe a few years ago too like Autolib. That went out of business in 2018. Peugeot was also planning to offer their cars in the US for ride-sharing, back in 2017. It never happened.

Now Tesla wants to try it, instead of producing a real new compact model anyone can easily buy.

It seems the Tesla Robotaxi could have a few new modes like “Guest mode”, or “valet mode” depending on who is using the car. And also a “Rider quality score” to prevent various schmucks from damaging the car too much.

Tesla Cybercab app.

A new Tesla app would allow you to summon the car to your location. Apparently, Musk has said there will be cars operated by Tesla itself, although he also mentioned, in his own sophisticated yet approachable use of the English language “there will be a bunch of cars where they’re owned by the end user”.

It seems quite a gamble for not that many sales. Unless the ride-sharing business is actually so profitable these days.

I have seen quite a few WAYMO self-driving cars in Los Angeles lately, and they now have no drivers at all. Which is quite an amazing sight. I guess if WAYMO can figure it out, Tesla might not be far behind.

No matter what, August 8 will be a very interesting day. It could even be the start of something bigger than we think…

I think it would be great if a larger version of the Cybercab looked like the “Johnnycab” from Total Recall.

Why not…

Conversation 5 comments

  1. It’ll never happen. The recent Tesla stockholder revolt (led by the institutional investors…ie the largest block of stock holders other than Musk himself) against the $50billion+ payout to Musk is seen for what it really is…. Musk’s attempt at cashing out because he knows the business if failing. He’s going to hold anything new hostage like the petulant child he is. There will be no new S, no new $25k compact, and no robotaxi. Tesla will rot on the vine. Stock price is already down 30% over the past year, when the rest of the market has been up. Imagine how much further it will dive when he just stops playing and takes his ball home with him. I say, good riddance.

  2. If the $25K car is built on the present 3/Y platform does it matter to the consumer?
    August 8th will be interesting indeed.

  3. “Now Tesla wants to try it, instead of producing a real new compact model anyone can easily buy.” Except that it can’t be produced for $25k and still be profitable. It’s next to impossible. Clearly, that is why Tesla has abandoned the idea. (For now, anyway).

  4. I think the design of the Cybercab (from pics I’ve seen) is the most utterly stupid choice I can think of for the intended customers. What percentage of the relatively large Americans could or would squat down to get in and out of this thing? Could it handle 2 passengers or even 3? Would customers want to step into Tesla’s CC in a place like NYC which would squash these itty bitty things left and right? I would prefer JohnnyCab any day of the week!

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