Would You Be Comfortable Sharing Your Car With Others?

Last week as part of his grand vision of the future entitled Master Plan Part Deux (the title is a sly reference to an obscure movie sequel called Robin Hood: Men In Tights, Part Deux), Elon Musk said in the section on Sharing:

Tesla proposes car sharing

“When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination.

“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 offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost. 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.”

That’s some pie in the sky wonderfulness right there. You too can own a $100,000 luxury automobile and get others to pay for it. What’s not to like?  Actually, there may be several things. Over at Teslarati, Tesla owner Shawn Brandt has a few quibbles with Musk’s grand vision.

“The idea of sharing my significant investment terrifies me, even if profit is involved. What kind of world is being proposed where I lose that sense of personal space and security of the vehicle for which I had set out and purchased?

“I get the concept. From a distance, I even like the concept. I could see myself as a respectful borrower of someone else’s car. It is just difficult to fathom the opposite arrangement. I understand that it will be completely optional. Still, I find it to be a strange concept.

“Tesla is not alone on this general idea. Google, ride sharing, and driving service companies have all suggested that they would like to replace privately owned vehicles with ones that are just a paid sharing service enhanced by autonomy.”

Brandt worries about tiny fingers smearing chocolate all over the windows, chewing gum stuck under the seats, and his favorite pair of sunglasses being appropriated by some stranger. “Maybe we will get to select levels of availability for our cars. There may be a way to list pre-approved users of my vehicle that I know and can trust to not do weird things while sitting in it, unsupervised.”

Brandt goes on to say, somewhat tongue in cheek, “I keep my car clean. I get annoyed even when familiar and approved passengers have the audacity to push radio buttons or alter climate settings. I keep my kid’s car seats in there. Those are my sunglasses in there. For god’s sake, my sunglasses should not be victimized by some greasy stranger. My car is and should be calibrated to me, only me. It’s mine. I bought it. Me me me.”

Where do you stand on this issue? Lots of visionaries seem to think we will all be sharing our cars with each other in the future, but are people really comfortable with that idea? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Source: Teslarati  Photo credit: Tesla Motors


Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.