Two weeks ago, Clean Energy Revolution reported on the bombshell news that Tesla and Ford were partnering to give Ford access to Tesla’s Supercharger network. On Monday, Elon Musk made another monumental statement: Tesla is willing to license its driverless technology to other automakers.
Musk made the announcement on Twitter in response to a statement made by General Motors CEO Mary Barra. Barra claimed that electric vehicles in the $30,000 to $40,000 price range won’t be profitable until the end of the decade.
Musk disagrees. He is confident that Tesla’s electric vehicle prices will fall significantly due to new efficiencies in the company’s manufacturing process. Tesla is transitioning away from the traditional stamping process and toward a casting process.
In the stamping process, robots join hundreds of car parts together by using glue or by welding. In the casting process, machines create large single pieces of car underbodies within minutes. The casting process enables Tesla to dramatically reduce the number of robots that it needs at its factories. It can then pass those savings on to consumers. Tesla has already produced one casting machine for its gigafactory in Texas.
In Tesla’s earnings call late last year, Musk repeated his promise that Tesla will produce a $25,000 driverless electric vehicle at some point in the next few years. The car will have Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology embedded into the vehicle, without the need to purchase FSD as a $15,000 add-on (as current Tesla owners must do).
In spite of the hefty price tag, FSD is continuing to grow in popularity. In late May, Tesla expanded FSD to countries outside of North America for the first time. This follows 285,000 FSD purchases from North American customers between late 2020 and late 2022.
It may take a few years before FSD becomes a major part of Tesla’s business. Nevertheless, licensing FSD to other automakers will allow Tesla to further cement its status as king of the electric vehicle world.