By on April 22, 2016

Elon Musk

Not everyone can afford a Tesla, even the lower cost Model 3, so what is Elon Musk going to do for the public transit set?

Something, apparently. The Tesla founder coyly hinted at a next big thing during a talk in Norway, according to Bloomberg, leaving many wondering whether he had a plan to do away with buses.

Musk told the transportation summit that an autonomous solution to traffic congestion would be in every city’s best interest.

“We have an idea for something which is not exactly a bus but would solve the density problem for inner city situations,” said Musk, adding that he couldn’t say too much about it. “There’s a new type of car or vehicle that would be great for that and that’ll actually take people to their final destination and not just the bus stop.”

Despite the rapt audience, Musk kept it zipped, giving out no concrete details of the plan.

Besides creating a line of electric vehicles, Musk unleashed the idea of inter-city vacuum tube travel via his Hyperloop concept. He’s mentioned car-sharing services in the past, but this development seems like an altogether new venture — if there’s even a venture.

What would a Tesla solution to public transit look like? Our imaginations can run wild with visions of self-driving buses, or maybe personal mobility pods, but only Musk knows what’s brewing in his head. Good luck dealing with the transit unions if that concept becomes a reality one day.

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16 Comments on “Is Musk Planning a New Way of Getting Around for us Plebs?...”

  • avatar

    Self driving minivan?

    • 0 avatar

      Tesla running shoe? :)

      Kidding aside, it would need to be smaller than a bus… maybe a mini-bus which can navigate narrow side streets. And a cloud connected mini-bus so routing information can be calculated allowing it take passengers whose destinations are near one another. Passengers would summon it and pay by smart phone.

      Autonomous… not yet. Cities are way too complex and traffic hazards too unpredictable.

  • avatar

    He should work on making doors that close safely + reliably and windshields that don’t give you double vision first.

  • avatar

    Well, there is a pretty long list of reasons why buses suck…so the bar Musk needs to clear is mighty low.

  • avatar

    I’ve got it! Autonomous four passenger, 3-wheel motor scooters! Think of it as a high tech rickshaw. The smaller bus fleet can be retained for special event charters, causing transit worker infighting rather than a united front of opposition, and subsidies for low income/elderly/disabled will limit taxicabs without running them out of business right away, causing them to wither away.

  • avatar

    “There’s a new type of car or vehicle that would be great for that and that’ll actually take people to their final destination and not just the bus stop.”

    Hop in the box car with the pictures of smiling people on the outside for a ride to your final destination!

  • avatar

    Last time I heard that elevator pitch, Dean Kamen was the Musk of the moment. And the pitch was for Segway………

  • avatar

    Makes sense that Musk is looking into the gigantic market of service-oriented transportation, as opposed to Tesla’s primarily product-oriented strategy so far. It is hard to imagine Tesla owners sharing their costly, posh, full-size saloon cars with anyone else. What’s even more of a problem, Teslas are too big and heavy to be considered flexible and maneuverable transport modes in modern day traffic, particularly in cities.

    • 0 avatar

      More cynically, but also more likely:

      Elon is just applying the old Wall Street adage, that when the initial shine of whatever junk you’ve been peddling wears off, sufficiently so that the downsides become visible, customers spending their own money dry up pretty fast.

      So, you turn to the “public sector”, an almost infinite pool of suckers with none of their own skin in the game. Who love nothing more than being courted at “conferences,” and told by salesmen how “innovative” and “sophisticated” they are. By “investing” in whatever the salesmen in question happens to be hawking at the moment….

      Look up Robert Citron for the poster child case, but there has been, are, and will forever be, many more….

  • avatar

    Elon’s rug is really starting to show.

  • avatar

    “Musk told the transportation summit that an autonomous solution to traffic congestion would be in every city’s best interest.”

    Terrific. Now design it, ensure it can connect vast non-geographically hemmed suburbs of areas like the Atlanta metro area (which seems determined to pave over the entire state), make it affordable, and make it ensure commutes will take less than an hour despite fifty bajillion people moving here, and you’ve got it made, Elon.

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