Elon Musk wants Tesla owners to be able to cash in on their investment in a big way, Tesla will let owners make money off their cars when they’re not using them.
In his “Master Plan, Part Deux” published Wednesday night, Musk said that once Tesla vehicles are fully autonomous, the company will set up a shared fleet program that enables owners to make money off their car by letting other people use it.
“You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly off setting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost,” Musk said.
“This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla. Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not.”
Musk also noted that in cities where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars, Tesla will set up its own fleet so people can always get a ride.
While this is the first time Musk has flat out said Tesla will be launching a service to let people rent out their Tesla cars, he has been hinting at it for some time. During the company’s third quarter conference call an analyst asked Musk about the possibility of Tesla getting into an Uber-like service, Musk gave the following response:
“There is a right time to make announcements and this is not that time,” Musk said, adding that such a service was not yet “fully-baked.”
Musk has also repeatedly said that as cars become more autonomous, consumer will move away from car ownership and towards ride-sharing. So it makes sense Tesla would head in this direction.
However, the company will undoubtedly have plenty of competition.
Uber, Google, and just about every major automaker are working on self-driving cars and plan to integrate them into a mobility service. Most recently, GM even said that it would first be launching its first fully autonous car on Lyft’s platform.
Musk did not share a specific timeline in his blog post for when its fully autonomous cars will come to market, but previously he has said Tesla would have its self-driving cars ready by 2018.
However, Musk has noted that the roll out of the cars weighs heavily on when the government has self-driving car regulations in place. So Tesla owners may have to wait a little bit longer before they can start cashing in on their car.