Tesla CEO Elon was in Norway today where he gave a keynote address at a government sponsored conference on ‘Future transport solutions’. Musk gave a quick presentation and then sat down for a public talk with Minister of Transport and Communications, Ketil Solvik-Olsen (picture above).
His presentation was titled:”How to reduce global warming through renewable energy production and consumption“. He shared his views about the necessities to accelerate the transition to a post fossil fuel economy in a similar way as he did during his Paris talk last year.
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When talking about trying to avoid overcrowding cities with personal vehicles, the Minister of Transport asked a question that got Musk talking:
“Can we expect Tesla to revolutionize mass transit when it comes to buses?”
“We have an idea for something which is not exactly a bus, but would solve the density problem in intercity situations. I think we need to rethink the whole concept of public transport and create something that people are actually gonna like a lot more. I don’t want to talk too much about it.”
He was asked if he was talking about the Hyperloop and quickly said no.
“I have to be careful with what I say these days. What happen is that I’ll make an off-hand comment with a group like this and then it will be a small thing in a page 3 article in Norwegian newspaper and then international press will seize on that and turn into a big headline.”
Too late. He kept talking about the idea Tesla is working on:
“There’s a new type of car or vehicle that I think would be really great (to solve vehicle density in cities problem) and actually take people to their final destination and not just to the bus stop.”
He then added that autonomous vehicles are key to this service.
Last year, Musk refused to answer a question about Uber and a followup sparked rumors that Tesla is working on a Uber-like service with autonomous vehicles. Although he doesn’t want big headlines about this new comment, he doesn’t seem to work very hard toward silencing these rumors.
Two recent studies looked into the costs, potential profit and market share of using fully autonomous cars to start a mobility on demand service. In their models, they used a hypothetical fleet of fully-autonomous Tesla Model 3’s operating in Austin, TX, and found that it would be highly profitable and obtain significant market share.
Gallery of pictures from the talk:
Pictures courtesy of Samferdselsdepartementet, 21. april 2016