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Elon Musk predicts a Tesla robotaxi ride will cost less than a subsidized bus ticket

The Tesla CEO, who once promised to have robotaxis on the road by 2020, says he now aspires to reach volume production of the vehicles in 2024.
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Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Staff Writer on

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is once again talking up the anticipated benefits of the company's long-awaited robotaxi. After once promising to have them on the road by 2020, Musk on Wednesday said, "we aspire to reach volume production of [the robotaxi] in 2024."

"That really will be a massive driver of Tesla's growth," the CEO said. Beyond that, he touted the impact the vehicle could have on transportation affordability.

"Especially with the robotaxi and autonomy, I think we'll end up providing consumers with by far the lowest cost per mile transport that they've ever experienced," he said on Wednesday's Q1 earnings conference call. "Looking at some of our projections, it would appear a robotaxi ride would cost less than a bus ticket -- a subsidized bus ticket or a subsidized subway ticket." 

Musk has, on several occasions, fallen short of his own predictions for building fully-autonomous vehicles. The CEO acknowledged Wednesday that with respect to full self-driving, he's "never seen more kind of false dawns where it seems like we're going to break through, but we don't." 

That isn't stopping him from continuing to hype the robotaxi, which he described on Wednesday as a vehicle "highly optimized for autonomy, meaning it would not have a steering wheel or pedals."

Meanwhile, Musk also said the company remains on track to reach volume production of its Cybertruck next year. The Cybertruck was unveiled in late 2019, but its rollout has been repeatedly delayed. 

Customers are also still waiting on the new Tesla Roadster and the Tesla Semi.

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