Uber CEO: If Tesla’s cars are autonomous by 2020, we’ll buy all 500,000

Tesla Model S

At the recent Top 10 Tech Trends dinner hosted by the Churchill Club, five of the world’s most famous VCs were asked what they think will be the most significant trends over the next five years. Steve Jurvetson, familiar to Charged readers as an early Tesla investor (and board member), had some interesting things to say about vehicle autonomy.

“For those of us who have a chance to be in [an autonomous vehicle], you’ll never go back,” said Jurvetson. “I believe they are already safer than my parents, and I would trust my kids with them. And they’re just going to get better.”

In the long run, Jurvetson foresees many benefits from AVs, including not only more efficient use of fuel and time, but also a huge reduction in highway deaths.

“[Autonomous technology] will offer you opportunities that are roughly 10 times better…With many fewer taxis than we have in New York today, you could get one of these within 30 seconds of wanting one, at a much lower cost per mile driven. It’s in fact more efficient than mass transit in urban and suburban environments, which is kind of amazing.”

Perhaps most amazing of all, Jurvetson said that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick recently told him that “in 2020, if Tesla’s cars are autonomous, he’d want to buy all of them.” Yes, that means all 500,000 units that the company expects to produce in that year.


Sources: Churchill Club, Forbes

  • brian_gilbert

    Uber can start now. The cars are safe in driverless zones and many exist such as amusement parks. Small isolated communites such as islands could easily switch to them, No more parked cars, low cost because of high vehicle usage instead of 95% idle time, no noise, no fumes, no vibration. Early adopters able to sell own cars at good price. Recent improvements in battery life available by time go live if start planning now.

  • Michael Walsh

    UBER is arrogant and does not support their drivers, they exploit them to the max. Drivers bear all the costs of fuel & car maintenance, pay their own health insurance as “independent contractors”-lose on the depreciation of their own cars, cleaning the cars and caring for the customers while UBER executives laugh all the way to the bank.

    UBER is also ready to start firing all their loyal drivers as soon as vehicles are autonomous. Kalanick spoke openly of spying on the press, has verbally attacked individual reporters and breaks laws and government edicts around the world. The French government recently ordered UBER to stop using “Uber POP” and they brazenly defied the law, leading to huge Taxi Driver protests, blocking Airport access with burning tires, and the public suffered.

    CEO Travis Kalanick is a sorry scum bag and is not to be trusted with anything…

    • Michael

      I’m just finding this post now, so sorry for rehashing what seems to be a sore subject for you..

      How can you say that Uber is exploiting drivers, when these drivers would have otherwise had no supplementary income from the app? Of course it makes sense to employee them as independent contractors, I’ve not met a single “full time” uber driver and I ride weekly AND drive for them. Uber doesn’t force anyone to drive, and if in fact they felt exploited they have no contract with uber; they can simply leave at will. Uber drivers can make more per hour than taxi drivers as evidence by the fact that uber drivers have increased tremendously internationally, and taxi drivers have seen steep declines.

      I’m just curious why you vilify the company that provides tremendous benefits to society. I’ll admit, it’s not perfect, but much better than taxis and the previous situation without Uber.

  • JGreen

    It’s 2020 now. Autonomous cars are a few years away.