My previous article showed how an off-lease Model 3 would set Tesla up for success using the Tesla Network. When most people think of the Tesla Network, they will most likely view it as a ridesharing service. The flexibility of robotaxis means that options not possible today will open up in the future.
Is it possible for individual owners that purchase to benefit? I would say yes. How much individual owners may benefit is the big unknown. We can place broad ranges on profitability and costs to consider this matter. Certain situations will be profitable and other not so much. Below are scenarios where the Tesla Network has a good chance to make money for owners.
Let’s postulate on how the Tesla Network can evolve in the future.
Option 1: Tesla Network Meets Uber
Figure 1: The artistic stylings of Vijay Govindan, showing a complex route from A to B, most likely with a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y. This scenario is repeated many times per day, with an estimated 90,000 miles a year, 50% empty. Those empty miles incur costs but produce no revenue.
Option 2: Tesla Network Meets Uber Black
Figure 2: Further artistic stylings of Vijay Govindan. The same as option 1, but just imagine riding in an S, X, Pickup, Performance Tesla, or Roadster to your destination. Even though 50% of our miles are empty, we are hoping the higher revenue from renting on a premium network offsets those fixed costs.
Option 3: Tesla Network Meets AirBnB
Rent out your Tesla for an hour, day, or week at a time. The closest alternative we have now is Turo in the US. The problem occurs if you need the car for commuting in the morning or evening, limiting rentals of a day, week, or longer. It may be an option if you go on vacation and don’t want your Tesla sitting idle at home, or fine for people who work from home, but otherwise is not practical for many people except perhaps on weekends.
Option 4: Tesla Network Meets a Subway Shuttle
Point A to Point B, and back from Point B to Point A. There are many examples where this would work:
- Local airport to city downtown
- Local commute to work and back home with co-workers
- One side of town to the other
Given that the route is known, this option has the potential to increase utilization and carry more than one passenger. Higher utilization leads to lower costs and fewer wasted miles. I would love to see the Tesla Network utilize Boring Company tunnels for long distances.
Option 5: Tesla Network Meets a Bus Route
Imagine taking option 4 and stretching it out a bit. There could be Tesla Network stops where people get on and off. The car might go in a big rectangle and stop every so often. This would increase capacity utilization and decrease costs.
Why would this be preferable to a bus? Aside from the fact that you’re riding in a Tesla, time between rides. I grew up in a place where the bus came every 40 minutes. It was awful. I was chronically late to school, and forced to engage bipedal motion in a forward direction.
If a route is popular enough, you can have Teslas arrive and depart every 1 minute. Places that might not make enough financial sense for a bus may be profitable enough for a Tesla Network robotaxi.
Figure 4: It takes excellent drawing skills to draw something so complicated. The Tesla Network route doesn’t need to be a rectangle. It can be any bus route, as long as it has multiple stops between start and end, and returns to the starting point when complete.
Option 6: Tesla Network Meets Special Events
We don’t know if Teslas will have congestion pricing for sports events, concerts, or special activities. If they do, you can rent out your car and help transport people to the event and back. This will minimize the time your car is driving, while maximizing earning potential.
Option 7: Tesla Network Meets Intercity Shuttle
Imagine option 4, but between cities. Many businesses already use Teslas to drive passengers in between cities. Cough, Tesla Shuttle, cough.
Hail a Tesla Network vehicle and move between city C and city D in comfort. The advantages are higher fares, higher utilization, and less wear and tear on the vehicle. Though, you have to be cool with your Tesla going so far away on its own.
Option 8: Tesla Network Meets Uber Eats
If you have a car on the Tesla Network, you can have a restaurant load up deliveries, stop by and deliver food for customers. Return when you are done and repeat the process.
Clever people can figure out a way to make sure you only get the food you ordered and not someone else’s. No cheating!
Option 9: Tesla Network Meets Package Delivery
The only difference between 8 and 9 is you have less risk of a food mess on your seats while delivering packages. It may not be as flexible as delivering food, but it’s an option.
Option 10: Tesla Network Meets Private Chauffeur
Suppose options 1 to 9 make you feel queasy — someone will mess up your beautiful Tesla. You don’t want to rent it out to complete strangers. You have parents and children that live nearby (crayons and play-dough, incoming). Your parents pick up your children at school. Your children avoid after-school care and go home with their grandparents. After, your Tesla takes all of you to soccer practice, the library, or after-school activities. Your friendly neighbor calls and says she or he is in a jam. They request that your Tesla pick them up because their gasoline car broke down due to the battery dying. The possibilities of renting out your car to family and friends is very real.
You may not earn much money here, but by reducing the need for extra vehicles, the Tesla Network can reduce congestion and pollution.
What I would like to see added by the aftermarket
The nature of sharing a private space with a stranger needs some comfort touches to make it more inviting. Separate tray tables, screens, cupholders, and headphones are some options that may ease the future of shared transport.
The possibility of robotaxis point to new businesses that clean your car, perform routine maintenance, and charge you up between trips. The need to repair Teslas will increase. I can see Tesla-approved bodyshops becoming more popular to minimize lost robotaxi revenue.
What I would like to see added by Tesla
A robotaxi driving 90,000 miles a year works out to 246 miles a day. Starting each day with a full charge, one Supercharging session at off-peak hours should be enough to finish your daily miles and take you home, even if you drive a SR+. Tesla has unveiled a solution for robocharging but is yet to release it — robotaxis and robocharging make sense.
It would be great if you could limit your robotaxi to a max distance from your location (say, 20 miles), or perhaps within a specific distance from a Supercharger (e.g., 30 miles). You don’t want little Tessie wandering off 100 miles in one direction and having to come home.
What other ways can the Tesla Network make money for you?
The opportunities to re-imagine the future are real, exciting, and unknown. Share your ideas in the comments below.
Thank you to the four people who used my referral link to order a Tesla! If this article helps you decide to order a Tesla, take advantage of my Tesla referral link to get up to 5,000 miles of free Supercharging on a Model S, Model X, or Model 3. (If you order before May 28th, we both get 500% more Supercharging miles than the normal 1,000 miles and five more chances to win a Founders Series Model Y or Roadster.) Here’s my code: ts.la/vijay59877
If someone else helped you more with your purchase, please use their referral code.
Disclaimer: I currently own Tesla shares. A recent discussion with $TSLAQQ folks confirmed they are more worried about Tesla’s finances and profit than advancing the world towards sustainable energy. I disagree with their approach. This article is my opinion and is not meant to be investment, financial, or car buying advice. Please see a properly licensed financial advisor to discuss investments. Follow me on Twitter @vijaygovindan17.
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