Rumor: Tesla Cars to Go Fully Autonomous in Five to Six Years
By Bradley Iger
September 16, 2014
While recent reports indicate that while Google’s car is still far from being ready for primetime, Elon Musk is confident that his company’s car will be fully autonomous by the close of this decade. Speaking with Nikkei, Tesla CEO also asserted that company’s cars will be partially self-driving in just three years. Musk went on to elaborate about the plan to get their technology from where it is today to those fairly lofty goals in such a seemingly short amount of time.
“The overall system and software will be programmed by Tesla,” Musk said, “but we will certainly use sensors and subcomponents from many companies.” A large part of that strategy includes the new Reno, Nevada based Gigafactory battery facility which Tesla has partnered with Panasonic to build, a factory expected to yield enough batteries to supply half a million EVs per year. Tesla also has a close relationship with Toyota – the two companies have collaborated on several projects in the past, including the limited production RAV4 EV, which launched in 2012 and was sold exclusively in California.
Tesla is currently in the midst of developing an EV called the Model III with an expected price tag of around $35,000, which the company expects will vastly broaden their market reach and make the company’s all-electric vehicles much more accessible to the average consumer. With the Model III expected to go on sale in 2017, and with no other suspects in site, it’s reasonable to assume that the partially self-driving technology Musk referred to in his Nikkei interview will make their debut in that vehicle. The Model III is expected to have a range of approximately 200 miles and is said to take direct aim at the segment-defining BMW 3-Series.