Tesla’s $25,000 car and the company’s dedicated robotaxi will feature a futuristic design -- inspired by the Cybertruck, according to Elon Musk biographer Walter Isaacson.
According to an excerpt from Isaacson's upcoming book, Musk was so focused on self-driving robotaxis that it took a team effort from Tesla executives to convince him to pursue an affordable car as well, however, the CEO only relented when his aides revealed a plan to build both the $25,000 car and Tesla's robotaxi side by side, reports Teslarati.
The news was first reported by Axios.
Tesla plans to produce 20 million vehicles per year by 2030.
To accomplish this, the company would require a vehicle that could be built quickly and at scale, meaning Tesla requires a vehicle with far greater output than the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover. Tesla's next-generation platform, which was discussed earlier this year at Investor Day, appears to be designed for this purpose, the report said.
As per Isaacson, Musk had a brainstorming session in November 2021 with his top five lieutenants in Austin, discussing a basic robotaxi that could be
produced in high volumes.
According to the report, Musk and his team spent almost a year debating whether to build a car with traditional controls or a vehicle that is fully autonomous, with no steering wheel or pedals, which would require taking a greater risk.
A number of Tesla engineers reportedly pushed for a more conservative approach.
During a meeting on August 18, 2022, Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen even suggested that the robotaxi could be a vehicle with steering wheels and pedals that could be removed later.
Musk, however, was reportedly adamant.
Following a meeting in September 2022, von Holzhausen and several others presented data to Musk showing that a small, “global car” would be needed
for Tesla to achieve its ambitious growth targets.
The team convinced the CEO that both the $25,000 car and the robotaxi could be built on the same next-generation platform. Both vehicles could be
produced using the same assembly lines as well, the report mentioned.
Musk was ultimately convinced by von Holzhausen's use of the $25,000 Tesla and robotaxi model alongside each other in Tesla's Design Studio.