Updated: Sep 12
Not long before the pandemic reared its ugly head, the brilliant, serial entrepreneur Elon Musk promised to roll out an Uber-like service enabled by self-driving Tesla vehicles. According to Musk, Tesla owners could expect to earn up to $30,000 per year in extra cash by lending their Teslas out to anyone in need of a ride. Owners and customers would transact on the "Tesla network."
This self-driving technology already exists. At this point, the network can go live very soon, opening the world to an exciting new way to make money while you sleep.
Tesla is Years Ahead of the Competition
While it's true that unicorn ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are also trying to launch robotaxi services, they are too far behind Tesla in their AI technology. Even self-driving car company Waymo (owned by Google) has a long way to catch up. Why? Well Tesla already has billions of miles worth of data for their AI systems to chew on. This is because every time a participating owner drives a Tesla, it's sending geographical data back to the company. Waymo and Apple would need years to catch up to that much mileage.
So how else is Tesla innovating hardware and software much faster than the rest of the industry?
In an article by Nikkei Asia, a teardown of a Model 3 found Tesla is light years ahead of its competitors in AI and self-driving technology. The company's most formidable weapon is an integrated central control unit that powers the car's self-driving tech as well as the car's unique "infotainment" system. The module includes two custom, 260-sq.-millimeter AI chips complemented by specifically designed software. Everything is completely developed by Tesla.
Elon Musk knew from the very beginning that if Tesla was going to supercharge the EV industry, it'd have to ignore the traditional supply channels of the auto industry. In fact, it's these same ol' supply channels that have made the auto giants like Ford grow stagnant in its innovation. Instead, Tesla is not a prisoner to any supply chain. In fact, Tesla designs its own microprocessors, substrates and many other parts key to its technological success.
Furthermore, Tesla's cars can be updated on the fly via a wireless network, enabling current customers to experience the newest features in a blink of an eye.
How Would the Tesla Network Work?
At a Palo Alto event in 2019, Elon Musk spoke to investors about this new P2P business augmented by AI. He calculated that the average Tesla vehicle is parked about 22 hours per day. However, by just pressing a button within the Tesla app, an owner could initiate the vehicle to autonomously pick up and drop off passengers, earning the owner around 65 cents per mile. It'd be advantageous to customers too, since the rates would be substantially lower than a vehicle being driven by an actual person, as it is with the current Uber and Lyft business models.
With these numbers, Tesla owners have the ability to make $30,000 per year, not including costs such as charging and insurance. Considering Tesla vehicles can easily last a decade, that is some solid, consistent income no one should take for granted. A typical Model 3 could bring home over $300,000 in revenue over the course of its lifespan. Not to mention, Tesla itself would be making a nice chunk of change, earning a solid 25 percent of all revenue generated.
“The fundamental message that consumers should be taking today is that it is financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla,” Musk said. “It will be like owning a horse in three years. I mean, fine if you want to own a horse. But you should go into it with that expectation.”
At this time, there are over 1 million Tesla cars capable of self-driving functionality. Only red tape and a pandemic are currently in the way.
Why Stop There?
The allure of this Uber-like business is that you would make money while you sleep. You can still park your car in a garage and go on your morning run. However, why stop there? Why not buy more than one Tesla? If you have a fleet of self-driving Teslas transporting people in your neighborhood, there wouldn't be much to stop you from achieving an income over $100,000. And if you can't afford to buy that many Teslas, then finance. And if you can't finance because your credit score isn't good, then work on building your credit.
The point is this type of opportunity is just the beginning. All it takes is a few steps to scale your income to heights you'd never think were possible.