Tesla CEO Elon Musk rejects Uber because he didn’t want to work with them on self-driving cars.
Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO, last year called Elon Mus to introduce the idea of a partnership between the two companies around self-driving cars. According to Fortune, reporter Adam Lashinsky said that this came after Apple invested $1bn (£772.2m) in Chinese rival Didi Chuxing.
“I said, ‘look man, we should partner’”, Kalanick was quoted as saying in the book Wild Ride: Insider Uber’s Quest for World Domination, Bloomberg reports. Musk was not in favour of the idea.
“Elon spent the rest of the call convincing me that it’s too far out and it’s not realistic, that I should jut stick to what we do best and be focused or I’m going t f**k it all up,” Kalanick said. “That’s when I knew that Tesla was competing.”
The tech automotive company was in the middle of inputting a semi-autonomous driving system Autopilot in its vehicles at the time Uber was proposing to kick-start a partnership in self-driving technology.
Musk unveiled the second phase of his “master plan”, laying out his vision for self-driving Tesla vehicles, just days after the call with Travis.
The 10-year plan incorporated an autonomous ride-hailing service that allows Tesla owners to add their car to a shared fleet and make money from their vehicle, even when they aren’t using it.
“Just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app”, Musk wrote that owners could have their car “generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at time 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,” he wrote at the time. “In cities where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars, Tesla will operate its own fleet, ensuring you can always hail a ride no matter where you are.”
A source told Bloomberg that Musk confirmed that he rejected Kalanick’s offer but did not try to put him offer pursuing self-driving cars.
This comes as a blow to Kalanick’s at a time where rival ride-hailing firm Lyft had announced a partnership with Waymo, Google’s self-driving unit. Lyft’s aim is to bring driverless car technology mainstream.
On the other hand, Uber has been dealing with a large number of issues including a law suit from Waymo, possible sexual harassment and a toxic work culture, secretive tools used to deceive law enforcement and track rival drivers amid an exodus of top executives..
“Uber is one of the most fascinating and controversial businesses in the world, both beloved for its elegant ride-hailing concept and heady growth and condemned for CEO Travis Kalanick’s ruthless pursuit of success at all costs, “ the book’s description reads.
“Uber is in the deadlines every day, but so much about its past and its future plan are still unknown to the public. Lashinsky will offer a look insider Uber’s vault in this informative, deeply research book about the ur-disruptor and its visionary and fierce CEO.”