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Early Robotaxi Event Preview
Autonomous Vehicles, Ridesharing , Tesla
While it's still more than two months away, I'm sharing my early predictions for the "Robotaxi Event". I expect three vehicles to be revealed, including Robotaxi, Model 2 and Cybervan (tailored to the ride-hailing vision). I expect initial production ramps could start as soon as summer of 2025, with FSD approval playing a large factor in the timing. These vehicles fit into Elon's vision that they need to solve autonomy to unlock shareholder value.

Key Takeaways

My expectation is Robotaxi, Model 2, and the Cybervan will be unveiled on August 8th.
The March earnings call gave some breadcrumbs about what to expect in August.
My best case outlook is Model 2 will begin ramping production in the summer of 2025. The Robotaxi and Cybervan timing will be heavily dependent on regulation.

What to expect on August 8th

Before I jump into my predictions, I want to give some context to my product announcement framework. My view factored in several sources including public comments from Elon and other Tesla management over the past 17 months and added perspective from Tesla followers. Will Bergersen, who used to work at Tesla and helped shape much of the foundation for the vehicle experience seen today, doing the deals for mapping, music, video games, and Caraoke. Much of the “principles” behind Will’s strategy at Tesla was for when cars would be autonomous. On top of that, I spoke with Matt Joyce (@matty_mogul), who is a long time Tesla researcher (in his free time) that I have found to be a reliable resource over the past 8 years.

I believe we will see 3 different vehicles during the August 8th Robotaxi unveiling event.

1. Robotaxi: I expect we will see a physical prototype of the Robotaxi. We also believe the model will have a futuristic feel, like that of the Cybertruck, without a steering wheel, pedals, or mirrors. Additionally, the reveal will include a “demo” of the Robotaxi in action, summoned by the Tesla ride-hailing app and showing off its autonomous capabilities by maneuvering some sort of track or route.

2. Model 2: The $25k Model 2 (aka Model A) will be previewed, with no working prototype. I expect this vehicle that will share similarities with the Robotaxi. While Model 2 will have a steering wheel, pedals, and mirrors, it won’t require FSD to operate. The body will be distinguishable from the Robotaxi, but overall will be on the same production as Robotaxi.

3. Cybervan: In a similar surprise to the updated Roadster driving out of the back of the Semi at the Semi launch, I expect Elon will unveil plans for a fully autonomous passenger van (Robotaxi XL for 8-10 people). While the passenger van will be light on Tesla’s sleek signature design, it will be heavy on leveraging autonomy for the ride-hailing vision of affordable transportation. This vehicle will be focused on dense urban areas and could play a role in the future of public transportation, which we estimate expands the ride-hailing addressable market by 20%.

Adding to my belief that the Cybervan is nearing announcement was the slide below from March of 2023 Tesla Investor Presentation that hinted to a van.


Three key August 8th moments from the March earnings call

A source of related to what to expect in August comes from management’s comments on the last earnings call. Here are the three key moments:

  1. “We’ve updated our future of vehicle lineup to accelerate the launch of new models ahead. I previously mentioned start of production in the second half of 2025. So we expect it to be more like the early 2025, if not late this year. These new vehicles, including more affordable models, will use aspects of the next-generation platform as well as aspects of our current platforms.” My take: there was an emphasis on the “affordable models”, as in plural. We will see more than one vehicle announced.
  2. “As we’ve announced, we will be showcasing our purpose-built Robotaxi or Cybercab in August.” My take: We will see an actual vehicle, not a rendering as previewed in the shareholder video on May 20.
  3. “We’ll talk about this more on August 8. But really, the way to think of Tesla is almost entirely in terms of solving autonomy and being able to turn on that autonomy for a gigantic fleet. And I think it might be the biggest asset value appreciation in history when that day happens when you can do unsupervised full self-driving.” My take: In Elon’s mind the $25k vehicle feels like an annoying prerequisite to get to the Robotaxi.

The gap between announcement and production ramp

Recent comments from the Tesla Semi lead engineer, Dan Priestley, indicated the Semi’s production ramp will start by 2026. His comments are an important reminder to TSLA investors regarding the gap between unveiling a product and ramping production. We looked at the timeline between Tesla vehicle unveilings and the start of production and measured the minimum gap at 10 months. This suggests the start of production for any of the vehicles announced in August would begin in June of 2025 at the earliest.

Looking at the more recent history (8 years) of product announcements and measuring the time it took to ramp production should remind investors that patience is a virtue.



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