“Welcome to Cyber Rodeo…are you having a good time?”begins Elon Musk, cowboy hat on his head and black Wayfarer, after a drone show in which we could see a bust of Elon, holographic views of the Model 3 and the Cybertruck. “We are going to talk about the past, the present and the future”explains Elon Musk in front of the “first vehicle ever assembled by Tesla”a prototype Roadster, designed at a time when, according to the entrepreneur, the firm had “only 10% chance of succeeding”.
The event, designed as a real show, was otherwise quite classic. The entrepreneur took the opportunity to take stock of its operational factories around the world, but also to reveal some information on its current vehicles, announced, and a big surprise to which we will come back a little later. Tesla took the opportunity to formalize the move of its HQ to Texas, to Austin. Which is not really a surprise.
Tesla Cyber Rodeo: Elon Musk makes announcements on Cybertruck, Model Y, Roadster and Tesla Semi
During the COVID-19 crisis, Elon Musk had repeatedly expressed his exasperation with the California authorities, and was already threatening to leave for Texas. So that is now done. The company’s offices will be integrated into the new Texas Gigafactory – “the largest factory in the world by volume”emphasizes the entrepreneur (it has an area of 3.05 million square meters). Who adds “the factory is the product […] it is much easier to design a prototype than to manufacture”.
Most of the production from this new factory will benefit the Model Y – which he wants to increase to 500,000 units a year. Next year, the plant will also manufacture the long-awaited Cybertruck, presented three years ago. The model has been slightly revised. One would have thought that the entrepreneur would, for example, add mirrors to facilitate its international approval. But finally the most important change is… that it no longer has a handle on the doors.
Elon Musk explains that the pickup simply detects that the owner of the vehicle is approaching, and then knows “that he must open the doors”. We probably didn’t ask for so much, but why not! With this new production unit, Elon Musk confirms that the first Cybertruck customers should be delivered in the course of 2023. Other welcome announcements, the Tesla Semi – the firm’s autonomous truck – and the almost forgotten Roadster, presented in 2017 ( forever!) will finally go into production next year.
Tesla announces the arrival of a Level 5 autonomous vehicle for a robotaxi service
Another big announcement: the arrival of Fully Autonomous Driving (which, we remind you, mainly delivers driving assistance ++, increasing driving autonomy from level 3 to level 4 on a scale of 5) for all the brand’s American customers in 2023. But what surprised the audience the most was the announcement of a new vehicle. Concretely, it is a level 5 autonomous vehicle, the highest level of autonomy which implies the total absence of a human driver, entirely dedicated to a future robotaxi service.
The entrepreneur was not stingy with details on his date of entry into production, and did not show a visual, contenting himself with saying that he will be very “futuristic”. We have already seen renderings of platforms dedicated to passengers in presentations of his other company The Boring Company, like the one we include in the cover of this article. All that can be said at this stage is that the announcement of this new category of vehicle shows a change in the strategy of Elon Musk who wanted to transform the existing Model 3 fleet into autonomous robotaxi.
Before giving it up in the face of the technical challenges posed by level 5 autonomous driving with the technologies currently implemented by the manufacturer on these models. It’s hard to say exactly when this “dream” will come true. We know Elon Musk’s taste for ringing and stumbling announcements that struggle to materialize within the announced deadlines. At least this time, we can recognize his rather welcome caution and restraint.
Tesla would have sold more than 1 million electric cars in the last 12 months – to be compared all the same to the total of 80 million cars (electric, thermal, hybrid, PHEV, etc.) sold in the world during the period. The growth in Tesla’s share of new-vehicle sales over a few years, on the other hand, is far more impressive – and there’s no doubt that Tesla can sustainably dominate the auto industry over the next few years if the firm keeps the same dynamic.