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Ownership of Autonomous Mobility Fleets

Discussion in 'Autonomous Vehicles' started by Ludus, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. Ludus

    Ludus Member

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    Michigan
    The new Tesla Plan emphasized the idea that Mobility fleets connected to Apps would let Tesla owners send their vehicles off to work for them earning the owner money when they don't need them allowing many more people to afford a Tesla. It also stated that when there aren't enough owners vehicles available Tesla would use it's own.

    This struck me as the perfect balance in what is otherwise a thorny issue in PR vs business planning. Tesla competitors have yet to work this issue out.

    It was interesting that a lot of Tesla owner reaction here was "never".

    In the logic of how Mobility fleets will work, I don't think Tesla owner involvement is actually important to the system. Tesla ownership except in a few places in California is very diffuse. Mobility fleets have to saturate a service area to work. Like Uber they need enough cars at any time to get the app user service with 10 or 15 minutes or people will stop using the app. There isn't now any place in the world (and there isn't likely to be in the foreseeable future) where there are anywhere near enough Tesla owners in a given service area to come close to providing enough vehicles. So for quite a few years, the explanation that Tesla's fleet operations are about giving the owners more options isn't really an important constraint, it's a distant aspiration that has just the right feel. It's something like "driving free forever on sunlight".

    From an owners POV I think it's fair because Tesla will genuinely be striving to roll out Mobility Service areas ASAP and if you live in one you will be able to add your car to the fleet and earn money as promised.

    From a business plan Plan POV Tesla will in practice own and control the Mobility fleets and will just on the margins also accommodate owners who happen to live in the service area that want to join the fleet at times. It will be many years before this is more than a small fraction of any fleet.

    For competitors this ownership issue is different. Most legacy carmakers will be partnering with existing Mobility App companies like GM-Lyft or Toyota-Uber. That adds in the third interest group of existing drivers. They'll be forced to try to phase autonomous vehicle ownership into the existing mix. That has some advantages but a lot of risks.

    It looks a bit like Apple vs Microsoft or Apple vs Google Android. A vertically integrated wall garden vs a collaboration.

    I think the Tesla plan pretty much solves the conflicts about ownership and does it in a way that lets Mobility fleets be extremely profitable for Tesla. It poses a challenge to how the other players will approach the question.

    How do you think ownership and control of self driving vehicle fleets will play out?
     
  2. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    It's a 10-year plan. Project forward a decade from now when there are 2 million Teslas just in California, and the numbers in other areas of the US and Western Europe will be sufficient for Elon's idea to work.
     
  3. Ludus

    Ludus Member

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    Sure, in 10 years, in the Bay Area or other cities the Tesla fleet might get a significant fraction from owners who want to have their vehicles work in their spare time. In fact the opportunity to add your car to the app fleet will likely boost sales in areas that have Mobility app coverage.

    I'm not suggesting it won't work. I'm suggesting it won't interfere significantly with Tesla owning and controlling Mobility fleets...which I think is the model that will let Tesla generate enough profit to scale rapidly and succeed globally.

    Even in 10 years there will only be enough Tesla owners in a tiny fraction of cities globally.
     

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