Elon Musk Insists on Tesla Robo-Taxis Having No Steering Wheels or Pedals

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Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has been adamant about not including a steering wheel or pedals in Tesla’s upcoming autonomous robo-taxis. This revelation comes from an upcoming biography of Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson. While Tesla officially announced its plans to create specialized self-driving taxis at an event in April 2022, evidence from Musk’s personal discussions indicates that the idea was being considered as early as November 2021.

From the beginning, Musk was resolute about these autonomous vehicles not having traditional controls like a steering wheel or pedals, even though engineers at Tesla initially pushed back against the idea. By August 2022, Musk was ready to take full responsibility for this decision, insisting on removing steering wheels, pedals, and rearview mirrors from the vehicle’s interior.

Musk was quoted as saying, “Let’s be clear. This vehicle must be created as a pure robo-taxi. We’ll take this risk. If it fails, it’s on me, but we won’t develop some sort of amphibian like a frog that’s halfway a car. We’re going all-in on autonomy.”

In a conversation with Isaacson, Musk stated that this product would be the one that propels Tesla to a ten-trillion-dollar market cap. He believed that people would talk about this moment for centuries.

These revelations shed light on the ideological preparation for creating an affordable $25,000 electric car. Musk had announced in 2020 that the introduction of 4680 battery cells would enable the development of an affordable electric car in this price range. Initially planned for production in 2023, the breakthrough came in September 2022 when Tesla’s board presented findings indicating that the company wouldn’t meet its goal of producing 20 million electric vehicles per year by the end of the decade without such a vehicle in its lineup.

During a meeting with investors in 2023, Tesla presented a new master plan for transforming production. This plan aimed to allow Tesla to manufacture both a low-cost $25,000 electric car and a fully autonomous taxi. Conceptual designs of both new models, described as having a “futuristic design like the Tesla Cybertruck,” were shown to Musk at a February board meeting. He was impressed with both concepts, stating, “When either of these cars comes out, people will think they’re seeing something from the future.”

Tesla plans to manufacture the $25,000 electric car at a facility in northern Mexico. Recent reports suggest that Chinese contractors are not rushing to establish their operations in Mexico, delaying the infrastructure readiness for Tesla’s production until at least 2025.

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Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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