QOTD: Will Elon Musk and Tesla Deliver Robotaxis on Time?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Yesterday, we covered Tesla boss Elon Musk refuting a Reuters report that the company is canceling its affordable EV. Musk also said that Tesla will be unveiling robotaxis this summer.

Just about every vehicle Tesla has launched has been delayed -- the Cybertruck is the best example of this. Some of this pertains to the difficulty of launching a new vehicle. Even the legacy OEMs with decades (and in some cases, centuries) of experience building cars at scale sometimes delay product launches -- so it's not unreasonable for a small startup, even one that's been in business as long as Tesla has, to struggle.

On the other hand, Musk has been (often credibly, IMO) accused of talking a big game to inflate the stock price.

So there are essentially, as I see it, three possibilities here. One: Tesla has robotaxis ready to go in August, as promised. Two: The company works hard to make the deadline and just can't get it done. Three: Musk is hyping a product to pump the stock, it won't be ready on time, and Musk will act as if that's just an understandable delay but really he was never planning to have robotaxis ready for early August.

Being a skeptic when it comes to automaker promises in general and Musk/Tesla specifically, I am betting on number three or perhaps number two. I don't foresee scenario number one coming true.

Hey, I could be wrong -- that's an occupational hazard when making predictions. But I'd be shocked if so.

What say you?

Sound off below.

[Image: Frederic Legrand - COMEO/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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6 of 28 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Apr 10, 2024

    In other news, GM's Cruise is starting operations again, beginning in Phoenix, with safety drivers on board:

    GM’s Cruise to Resume Testing Robotaxi Service in Phoenix

    They're in talks with 20 other cities to begin testing there as well.

  • Mike Beranek Mike Beranek on Apr 10, 2024

    I bigger question:

    How many Americans would not climb into a robotaxi under any circumstances, and cannot be convinced otherwise?

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Apr 10, 2024

    I had my first look at the Tesla Truck yesterday in the daylight. It looks like it's a half a block long. It's a Tesla flame thrower in automotive form. It's absurd.

    I'd love to drive absurd cars! Diablo, Corniche, that crazy 4x4 Lambo from the 80s, even the stupid HUMMER EV looks like it would be fun.

    But the T Truck looks dumb. No interest at all. I thought the Model S was going to usher in beautiful design, but Tesla cranks out eggs instead. And now a Tonka Truck.

    They should have evolved the Model S into something even more beautiful. Ape the Escala, a beautiful car Cadillac can't seem to put into production.

    All this to say that as much as I like what Musk is doing, this feels like another unforced error.

    • Jeff Jeff on Apr 10, 2024

      I have a new appreciation for the 1958 Edsel and the 1961 full size Plymouths and Dodges which I considered up until the Cybertruck the ugliest vehicles ever made. Even the ghost of Virgil Exner would find the Cybertruck abhorrent.

  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Apr 10, 2024

    How much of the cost of a taxi ride is the salary and benefits of the bag of meat sitting in the drivers seat?

    Robo-taxis seem like a solution looking for a problem.

    • Dwford Dwford on Apr 10, 2024

      Yeah, the goal is to eliminate the expense of the driver, but then they now have remote operators and teams of trouble shooters scattered around to help these cars. So are they really saving any payroll?