Elon Musk Says Tesla Robotaxi Reveal Coming August 8th

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Well, this one is sure to stir discussion threads across the internet again. On the back of drooping Tesla sales but also the wide release of Full Self Driving (Supervised) version 12.3.3, Elon Musk has tweeted that Tesla will have a robotaxi reveal on August 8th, 2024.

Screenshot of text message David Havasi sent me.

There are several things to say here.

First of all, I have tested FSD a bit recently — version 12.3.1 a little bit on a road trip to Miami and back, and version 12.3.3 yesterday around town with David Havasi and another colleague with the FSD suite. Overall, the system is much more human-like, much more natural, and thus much better. It is impressive, and as David said, this is what we were expecting we were getting a few years ago when we were finally able to download an early version of the system for city streets. However, there are still some problems popping up. I’ll write much more about this once some videos we recorded are edited and published.

Secondly, as already noted, Tesla sales (deliveries) took a dive in the 1st quarter of the year. Tesla mentioned a few short-term issues, but there are broad concerns that Tesla may be facing demand challenges (relative to production capacity and growth targets) that it’s never faced before. We’ll see, but in the meantime, without growth, Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) fell after the delivery numbers came out.

Third, there’s a report out today from Reuters saying that Tesla has killed its lower-cost electric car project, which seems to have driven down the stock further. Musk has tweeted that Reuters is lying, but he doesn’t indicate any specifics in that regard. If you read the Reuters piece, it has some clear specifics.

So, there is definitely going to be speculation that Elon Musk is now tweeting about robotaxis (again) to pump up the stock. This has been a common assumption from critics as to why he talks and tweets about Tesla robotaxis so much.

On the flip side, maybe Tesla is really making enough progress with FSD that it feels ready to reveal and start testing of actual robotaxis, and perhaps even regulatory approval for their testing or operations in certain places. We’ll see. For now, it appears we have to wait until August 8th for more info on this, but perhaps Musk will tweet more or share more on the next Tesla conference call for shareholders.

I fully expect long, vigorous, heated debates about what is going on. And I look forward to reading them. I’m always curious to see strong arguments made either way. There are a number of clips and statements out there regarding FSD (Supervised) now, so I’ll return to that discussion with my own more detailed and nuanced thoughts when I write about our video driving around with the latest version of FSD. Stay tuned.

Update: One Tesla fan tweeted that perhaps Tesla is not going to offer the lower-cost car to buyers because Elon Musk feels like FSD is nearly ready to operate robotaxis, and he previously argued that there was no point in selling a lower-cost car if there were low-cost robotaxis. It appears that Musk is agreeing with that assessment from his response to the tweet:

“However, here is my general thinking. Tesla’s low-cost $25k car and the Robotaxi were always going to be based on the same platform. They were going to be very similar, but the $25k version was going to have a steering wheel,” Sawyer Merritt wrote. “Maybe Elon and the team have been so impressed with how good FSD 12 has performed and were maybe thinking they should be shifting even more resources to the Robotaxi/FSD effort. This doesn’t mean the $25k car is canceled. Again, they share the same platform.”

I’m sure it was a thought that crossed many people’s minds. After all, there’s a long history of Musk discussing this matter publicly and privately, and reportedly being nearly forced by Tesla staff to work on a lower-cost car just in case FSD didn’t become robotaxi ready. However, at the same time, many people would not like to revive hype about Tesla robotaxis until they are really ready to roll.

Also, it should be noted that the second paragraph in the article from Reuters that Musk said was a lie is the following: “The automaker will continue developing self-driving robotaxis on the same small-vehicle platform, the sources said.”

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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