Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the EV maker will create a ride-hailing/car-sharing service that is a cross between Uber and Airbnb.
The service, which Musk has previously said would be ready by the end of 2019, would allow owners of Tesla vehicles to opt in and out at will.
Tesla customers would be able to add their cars to the network when not using it, and also place restrictions on who could use their car.
When the car is needed again for personal use, the car owner can recall it from the network.
The plan would give Tesla customers the chance to share in the revenue and recoup the costs of the purchase of their car, with Tesla charging “30% or something” for the owners to use the service.
“I think that’s a pretty sensible way to go,” said Musk in this week’s Q3 earnings call.
If it succeeds, Tesla will be placed to disrupt the ride-share disruptors Uber and Lyft, against whom Musk says it will “compete directly”.
Car owners would not be pushed out of the market by Tesla either, says Musk: Tesla only intends to add its own cars (owned by the company) to a ride-share network in areas where there are not enough private cars to fulfil local needs.
The concept of introducing a car-sharing service is not new; there are several in Australia already, such as Car Next Door, or Drive My Car.
Penetration into markets is what is needed, particularly where traditional forms of public transport fail to meet the needs of the local population, as has been recognised in a recent report on the needs of outer suburbs from Infrastructure Australia.
The report says it “makes a clear case for governments to consider new models such as on-demand buses and ride-sharing to complement more traditional modes, like bus and rail,” signalling the changes required to service our ever-sprawling cities.
With car-sharing and ride-hailing also helping drivers offset the costs of private transportation, Tesla is on track, but not alone, with automotive giant PSA announcing it will also begin its own car-share service Free2Move starting in Washington D.C., USA.