Come On Elon! Tesla Stupidly Bans Owners From Using Self-Driving Teslas For Uber
from the you-don't-own-what-you-bought dept
We’ve talked a lot about the end of ownership society, in which companies are increasingly using copyright and other laws to effectively end ownership — where they put in place restrictions on the things you thought you bought. This is bad for a whole variety of reasons, and now it’s especially disappointing to see that Tesla appears to be jumping on the bandwagon as well. The company is releasing its latest, much more high powered, version of autonomous self-driving car technology — but has put in place a clause that bars Tesla owners from using the self-driving car for any competing car hailing service, like Uber or Lyft. This is not for safety/liability reasons, but because Tesla is also trying to build an Uber competitor.
We wrote about this a few months ago, and actually think it’s a pretty cool idea. Part of the point is that it effectively will make Tesla ownership cheaper for those who want it, because they can lease it out for use at times when they’re not using it. So your car can make money for you while you work or sleep or whatever. That’s a cool idea.
But it’s flat out dumb to block car owners from using the car however they want.
If Tesla wants to compete with Uber, that’s great, but it should compete and offer a better deal for car owners, rather than artificially limiting what they can do. And the thing is, Elon Musk knows this. Remember, a few years ago when he famously freed up all Tesla patents into the public domain, recognizing that it was better to compete on execution rather than artificial legal limitations? So why not take that same approach with competing in car hailing services as well? Don’t limit what owners can do with their cars. That’s now ownership. ow they’re just leasing.
Tesla’s plan for a competing ride hailing service is a good idea, and I’m excited to see what the company does with it, but if it starts off by artificially blocking Tesla owners from using their cars on competing services, it makes me think that Tesla doesn’t think it’s own service will be very good, and therefor it needs to artificially lock Tesla owners into its own platform, rather than competing on the merits. That seems antithetical to the message that Tesla and Elon Musk have given off in the past. Hopefully Musk reconsiders this anti-consumer move and recognizes that Tesla can build such a service that can stand on its own merits without artificially restricting Tesla owners.