Many Tesla owners have been paying $12,000 to equip their vehicles with the company's Full Self-Driving feature, which is being developed to provide true autonomous driving capability at some point in the future.
The price for Full Self-Driving was originally $5,000, but has risen as new functions have been added, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said it will be worth more than $100,000 when it is fully operational and receives regulatory approval.
That's because if it ever does, owners have been told that they will be able to register their vehicles for an autonomous ride-hailing service that will allow their vehicles to earn money for them instead of just sitting around parked. Unfortunately, it sounds like they may have some competition to worry about.
During Tesla's Cyber Rodeo event celebrating the opening of the company's new factory in Austin, Texas, on Thursday night, Musk mentioned a few future products that are in the works, including a Robotaxi.
"What I can say is we’re gonna move to truly massive scale – scale that no company has ever achieved in the history of humanity. That has to happen to transition the world to sustainable energy. Massive scale, Full Self-Driving, there’s gonna be a dedicated Robotaxi that’s gonna look quite futuristic," Musk said.
Musk has previously brought up the possibility of developing a van, but said it was on the back-burner due to battery supply constraints. He didn't elaborate on the details or design on Thursday, but another one of his companies may have already offered a glimpse on what's in the works.
Musk's tunnel-building firm, The Boring Company, has included a van in several of the computer animations of the autonomous underground transportation systems it has been pitching to cities around the country, including Chicago.
The vehicle features a tall body with large windows, sliding doors, seats facing to the front and sides and no driver controls. It resembles the people-mover train cars used at some airports and event centers, but has bulging fenders housing its wheels.
As the shocking Cybertruck proved, you never know what to expect from Tesla, but the van has been a persistent theme.
As for when it or the Full Self-Driving will be achieved, Musk, who once told customers to expect it in 2017, said during Tesla's earnings call in January that 'my personal guess is that we'll achieve full self-driving this year."