Tesla has made it clear that autonomous vehicles are a very important part of its future, but what about ride-sharing? Many analysts believe that it’s very likely that Tesla will enter the ride-sharing business once its technology reaches the point where it has truly autonomous vehicles. When asked about this in a recent conference call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shied away from the question, saying “I don’t think I should answer it.” That’s definitely a suspicious response, but only time will tell whether or not our suspicions are correct.
Could a partnership between electric carmaker Tesla Motors and ride-sharing company Uber be in the making? During a conference call discussing Tesla’s second-quarter financial results, an analyst asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk about recent proclamations from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick that if Tesla produces autonomous cars by 2020, he would buy all of them for his ride-sharing service. The analyst also asked Musk if Tesla would consider operating its own ride-share business. The questions were met with a bit of hemming and hawing, followed by awkward silence. What doesn’t quite shine through in the transcript is how Musk seemed to clam up at the question, opening up more questions than answers about what a future Tesla-Uber tie up might look like. Tesla’s big plans to produce 500,000 cars with autonomous functions by 2020 has sparked interest from Uber because the ride-sharing company stands to save a lot of money—and avoid legal and employment headaches—by having autonomous cars drive customers around instead of hundreds of thousands of drivers.