Tesla will produce robotaxis without steering wheel or pedals in 2024, Musk says
Elon Musk shared his vision for a fully autonomous robotaxi at Tesla's Q1 earnings call and even suggested a dedicated event could be held next year before the vehicle goes into production in 2024, Business Insider reported.
This is not the first time Musk has brought attention to the robotaxi. Earlier this month, Musk referred to this "futuristic" car at Tesla's Texas Gigafactory Rodeo, which is the most likely future for a car company investing heavily in autonomous driving features.
Musk did provide little details this time around: the car would have no steering wheel or pedals since it would be "highly optimized for autonomy," according to Business Insider. Musk also looks at this new vehicle as a driver of Tesla's next round of growth since it will be optimized to deliver the lowest cost per mile, the Tesla CEO added.
Will input costs hold up, though?
A critical factor to consider would be the cost of the vehicle itself, which is likely to see revisions in the future. Tesla recently bumped the prices of its current versions, but Musk lamented about the high inflation, which saw the cost of parts increase by as much as 30 percent, CNBC reported.
According to Musk, inflation was higher than the 8.5 percent the Labor Department in the U.S. reported, and while the car prices were likely to remain constant soon due to existing contracts, they were bound to see revisions in the future. Apart from material inputs, Tesla was also grappling with rising costs of commodities and outbound logistics, Musk added.
These were significant challenges for a company looking to make the transition to electric vehicles easy and affordable.
Can Tesla meet the time frame?
The other question is obviously about the 2024 timeline that Musk mentioned during the earnings call. Known for overpromising delivery timelines, Musk has recently revealed that Tesla's Cybertruck is finally going into production, four years after it was unveiled.
With the opening of more Giga factories, Tesla's production facilities have grown over the years, and the production is expected to increase 60 percent year-on-year in 2022 as Musk said during the recent call. So, spinning out cars won't be a major issue for Tesla as long as the supply chain also holds up.
But the robotaxi is a new design and will need to undergo heavy testing before being deemed roadworthy. Maybe, some of these taxis could demonstrate their worth in Musk's Boring Company tunnels in Vegas or Florida but on the road, that would be a major ask.
Let's wait for the unveiling first, we can wait for production later, anyways.