When Elon Musk revealed Tesla’s plan to ship all Tesla’s made going forward with all the hardware they need to achieve full autonomy, the company noted that car owners would not be able to use their future self-driving Teslas to drive for Uber or Lyft. Instead, they’d be able to rent out their cars on demand using Tesla’s own Tesla Network for ridesharing. On Tesla’s Q3 earning call, Musk addressed claims this was a shot across Uber’s bow.
Asked on the earnings call whether Tesla Network was designed as a revenue-generating line of business for Tesla itself, or more as a value-add offering designed to incentivize vehicle purchases and grow market share, Musk noted that it was actually not just one or the other.
“It’s a bit of both really,” Musk said on the call. “This would be something that would be a significant offset on the cost of ownership for a car, and a revenue generator for Tesla as well, but the majority of the revenue would go to owners.”
Musk also then addressed observer characterization that this might be Tesla’s plan to compete with Uber (and other ride-hailing services directly).
“This has been characterized as Tesla vs. Uber,” he said. “But it’s not Tesla versus Uber, it’s the people versus Uber.”
Clearly, Musk sees the Tesla Network as a way to give vehicle owners a way to control monetization of their own vehicles, in an arrangement that likely will drive more revenue generation for vehicle owners than might be derived from working through with Uber or Lyft and subsequently offering those services a percentage of revenue derived from providing their vehicles.