Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk is almost done with developing technology for its vehicles, which will then be fully capable of driving themselves. This is something Musk has been saying for years, and it has been his dream goal. It looks like this will be the year he finally achieves it after many failures.
The 2018 scandal
This time, the Tesla CEO isn’t just talking about his cars’ capabilities, but he will be able to show them to the whole world. Previously he was so engrossed into the idea that in 2016 he was charging customers for a self-driving feature. It seems crazy, but that is Musk, we know. It was kind of unfair since Tesla still asks its driver to be ready to take over the wheel at any time, even though autopilot is turned on. This was a real scandal in 2018 when a driver died due to a crash while driving Model X (and using autopilot). Since then, Elon had to face multiple backlash and doubt. It was last year when information came out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration might be preparing for a formal investigation of the Autopilot case.
Level Five Autonomy
Musk has already said during the World AI Conference in Shanghai that Tesla is very close to level five autonomy. That means that cars won’t need human attention at any time. He’s been confident about it, and he’s not backing down, unlike other companies. He said there are small problems left, but nothing that cannot be solved until the end of the year. They want to make completely sure that the whole system will work without a flaw when putting together. Then he will be able to leave everything that happened behind, which should raise the value on the market even higher after the SpaceX event that caused Musk’s stocks to skyrocket. Cruise CEO roughly estimated there would be a $1 trillion addressable market in the U.S. for autonomous ride-hailing, which would be a massive transformation for Tesla’s business.
Unlike Musk, Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, which recently acknowledged it would still be relying on human safety drivers to back up its robotaxis for many years to come. General Motors Co.’s Cruise last year put off plans to make autonomous vehicles available for rides and still hasn’t set a new timetable for when this type of service will be ready. It looks like they still have lots of work to do so they can reach Tesla’s level. It may be they are cautious, so they don’t get into the situation Musk was in back in 2018.
Tesla business in China
Musk has grown his company a lot in China, but recently he invested a lot of money into a factory near Shanghai. This is a production Gigafactory, and they succeeded in making a place for themselves on the EV market (electric vehicles market). When the Fremont factory had to shut down due to coronavirus, he relied heavily on production and quick distribution of cars in China, which resulted in over 11000 units sold by May, when their stocks jumped again.
The China Passenger Car Association has released June numbers, and the stock market numbers went down again. However, Tesla is still moving ahead with full force and managed to deliver almost 15,000 Model 3 vehicles in the country just in June. With the rest of the market down, passenger cars down 6.5%, and EVs down 35%, Tesla managed to capture an impressive 23% of the market in China.