By Fred Lambert
Elon Musk announced that Tesla is going to build a new futuristic-looking electric vehicle as a “dedicated robotaxi” – though there’s no clear timeline for the new vehicle.
At Tesla’s Cyber Rodeo event tonight, Gigafactory Texas was the real star of the show.
CEO Elon Musk made clear that Tesla’s focus in the short term and in 2022 specifically is to scale operations to increase production capacity, and Giga Texas is going to be critical to make that happen.
But the CEO still made sure to get people excited about upcoming new products and said that 2023 is going to be the year for new vehicles with the Cybertruck, Tesla Semi, and new Roadster all entering production next year.
Musk even announced a new vehicle at the event: a dedicated robotaxi.
When talking about what is next for Tesla, the CEO said:
There’s going to be a dedicated robotaxi that is going to look quite futuristic-looking.
He is talking about a new electric vehicle to join Tesla’s lineup and be strictly used for a taxi service.
This would be a departure from Tesla’s current self-driving plan as the company has been focused on achieving self-driving capability with the current hardware on its existing vehicles already on the road.
Now Musk is talking about Tesla building a new vehicle specifically for self-driving.
This has been a model adopted by other autonomous driving companies like Zoox. It allows more freedom in the design since the vehicle is never going to be driven by a human so a driver’s seat and controls are not required.
There also have been previous talks about Tesla building a self-driving vehicle to operate in The Boring Company’s tunnels. The company released the render seen above.
Musk didn’t offer a timeline on this new Tesla dedicated robotaxi, but it likely won’t be a priority until the automaker can fulfill its promise to the already tens of thousands of owners who bought its Full Self-Driving (FSD) package on existing vehicles.
At the event tonight, the CEO said that Tesla is aiming for everyone in North America who bought the FSD package to get access to the beta program.