AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Tesla will build a dedicated vehicle for use as a robotaxi, and begin manufacturing three new vehicles next year, CEO Elon Musk tells fans at a party celebrating the opening of a factory in Texas.
Musk didn’t elaborate on the robotaxi other than to say it “will look pretty futuristic.” He also said Tesla will begin building the Cybertruck pickup at its new factory near Austin, Texas next year. After that, it will start building a new Roadster and a semi-electric, he said.
He made his remarks Thursday night at the “Cyber Rodeo at Giga Texas,” an invitational party for thousands of guests at Tesla’s new, more than $1 billion factory.
As many as 15,000 people were expected to attend the private event to mark the opening of the new factory in Travis County, which also serves as the company’s new headquarters following its move from California.
Musk said at Thursday night’s event streamed live on YouTube that Tesla was delivering the first small Model Y SUVs built at the new factory, which he says can make half a million SUVs a year.
Tesla and Musk often missed targets to start producing vehicles. In 2019, it promised a fleet of self-driving robotaxis would be on the road the following year, but the company’s “Full Self-Driving” software is still being tested by some Tesla owners on public roads.
The company is the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles in the United States and worldwide.
Musk said this year will focus on the Austin factory expansion as well as a new one in Germany. He also said the company could start building a robot in 2023. “Next year there will be a massive wave of new products,” he told the crowd Thursday night.
A county-issued permit said the event included interactive tours, food, alcohol and live entertainment. But the event was closed to the general public and the media.
Musk said the Austin-area plant will employ up to 10,000 workers.
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