Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, initially needed persuasion to recommit to the idea of creating a $25,000 electric vehicle (EV). His primary enthusiasm had been directed towards the concept of a robotaxi. However, things took a positive turn when designers presented him with a car featuring a futuristic design reminiscent of the highly anticipated Cybertruck, as reported by Walter Isaacson, who is releasing a biography about Musk next week, according to Axios.
“When one of these comes around a corner,” Musk reportedly said, “people will think they are seeing something from the future.”
In February, Musk and his team at Tesla reached a compromise, deciding to focus on developing both a $25,000 EV and a robotaxi concurrently. Their strategy involved utilizing an advanced engineering platform to manufacture both vehicles on the same assembly lines.
Nonetheless, skepticism abounds regarding Tesla’s ambitious plans, given the track record of the company and its outspoken CEO. Musk had previously pledged in 2018 to have a $25,000 vehicle in production by 2021, a deadline that has clearly come and gone.
Introducing a $25,000 car could significantly undercut the prices of Tesla’s pricier models. However, achieving the necessary cost reductions to make this endeavor worthwhile may prove exceptionally challenging. For instance, the Model 3, initially intended to cost $35,000, still retails for over $40,000 before incentives.
Musk’s true focus seems to be on the concept of a robotaxi. According to Isaacson, the billionaire envisions a future where robotaxis render personal vehicles obsolete, offering a self-contained “living room on wheels” devoid of mirrors, pedals, or a steering wheel.
“There is no amount that we could possibly build that will be enough,” he told the biographer, referring to a cheap, high-volume robotaxi. “Someday we want to be at 20 million a year.”
The realization of this vision remains uncertain, particularly considering Tesla’s considerable hurdles in achieving its “Full Self-Driving” aspirations. Reading between the lines, it seems unlikely that a $25,000 Tesla will make its way to dealership lots in the near future.
“Let me be clear,” Musk said, per Isaacson. “This vehicle must be designed as a clean robotaxi. We’re going to take that risk. It’s my fault if it f–ks up. But we are not going to design some sort of amphibian frog that’s a halfway car. We are all in on autonomy.”