Following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s claims that Tesla will have a fully self-driving car in about one year, some analysts have become skeptical. One analyst told CNBC that the claim “seems impossible.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated during an appearance on the Ark Invest podcast thatTesla’s vehicles will be fully self-driving by 2020, stating: “The car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year… I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.”
Now, analysts are beginning to question Musk’s claims. In an interview with CNBC, Karl Brauer, the executive publisher of Cox Automotive, stating the believes Musk may, in fact, be misleading the public on the capabilities of Tesla’s vehicles: “I think the term ‘misled’ works here. I mean, there are so many variables out there,” he said. “There are so many different ways that a car has to be able to deal with driving: weather, lighting, traffic, pedestrians, bicyclists. To say you’ll have all conditions solved in the next 12 to 18 months, nobody else is making that claim and there are some pretty big companies out there like Google who are doing this and have been doing this for a decade.”
In a further email, Brauer told CNBC “Elon’s got one of the best systems currently available in terms of semi-autonomous driving, but the concept of any car handling all the variables that exist on the road is still hard to fathom. Doing it in the next 12-18 months seems impossible.”
Brauer further noted that Musk has a tendency to over promise and under deliver, stating: “Elon Musk’s established history of predictions plays into his latest claims,” Brauer said. “He’s missed these kinds of predictions in the past, so people shouldn’t be surprised he’s willing to make them again, or that they might be unrealistic. The current AutoPilot technology is among the most advanced available, but it’s nowhere near full self-driving under all conditions. Getting there by the end of this year, or even the end of next year, feels out of scope, but I guess we’ll see.”
Bloomberg reported recently that a 10-K filing by Tesla shoes that the company’s losses came to almost $1 billion in 2018 and would have been closer to $1.4 billion if not for sale of $419 million of regulatory credits. Adjusting for the sale of regulatory credits, the company’s net loss shrank from $2.3 billion in 2017 to $1.4 billion in 2018. The company’s operating costs came to around $4.3 billion.