Tesla’s Cybertruck Is Just One Late Promise of Many Made by Elon Musk

  • Tesla’s Cybertruck is finally beginning production two years behind schedule. 
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been known to make lofty promises that go undelivered for years at a time.
  • Among his unfinished projects are fully autonomous Teslas and the “everything” social media app X. 

It’s safe to say Tesla CEO Elon Musk doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to delivering on his promises — just this week, Tesla finally began production on its Cybertruck in Giga, Texas, four years after releasing its prototype and two years behind its planned production date. 

The entirely electric truck isn’t the only thing Musk promised that was late or undelivered. Below are six other projects he has yet to bring to fruition. 

Fully self-driving Teslas

In 2016, Musk said that in two years, Tesla users should be able to use the car’s “summon” feature — still in beta mode in 2023 — to have their car drive autonomously to them from anywhere connected by land. In 2017, Inverse reported, Musk expanded the promise, assuring buyers that it would be just two more years before self-driving Teslas could be used to travel cross-country while passengers sleep. 

Currently, Tesla’s cars can use “autopilot,” which the company defines as an “advanced driver assistance system.” However, drivers still need to be “fully attentive,” have their hands on the car’s wheel, and be “prepared to take over at any moment,” according to a Tesla article. Features like traffic and stop sign control are still in beta mode and also require driver attention to be safe, the article says. 

One million robotaxis 

On Tesla Autonomy Investor Day in 2019, Musk promised that Tesla would have over one million “robotaxis” on the road in 2020, reported CNBC

“I feel very confident predicting autonomous robotaxis for Tesla next year,” said Musk at the investor day, according to CNBC. “We won’t have regulatory approval everywhere, but I am confident we will have at least regulatory approval somewhere, literally next year.” 

His plans for ride sharing or “taxi” Teslas were first suggested in 2016 in his “Master Plan, Part Deux,” in which he proposed autonomous Teslas could be rented out when their owners were not using them.

Today, there is not yet a single robotaxi in use. 

Hyperloop systems 

Musk first introduced the idea of a hyperloop system that could move at up to 760 miles per hour in 2013, according to previous reporting from Insider.

In 2017, he tweeted that he had “verbal govt approval” for a hyperloop connecting New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC — a track he said would take users from New York to DC in just 29 minutes. 

However, Insider previously reported, Musk’s The Boring Company in 2021 removed plans for both a DC transit tunnel and a tunnel in Los Angeles from its website. In October 2022, The Verge reported the hyperloop Musk was building in Southern California had been replaced by parking spots for SpaceX employees. 

An ‘everything’ social media app, X

In late 2022, Musk tweeted that his purchase of Twitter was an “accelerant” to the creation of ‘X,’ the “everything app.” In comments, he estimated Twitter would speed up X’s production by three to five years. 

What exactly the “super app” might be remains unclear, though Musk has cited inspiration from WeChat and referenced plans to build the app on a blockchain system. He also pledges to emphasize free speech, battling fake users run by bots, and potentially a subscription model, like Twitter Blue — interesting goals for Musk, given that just days after he declared comedy “legal” on Twitter in November 2022, he suspended accounts using their free speech to make fun of him, according to reporting from Time.

Musk also previously failed to get rid of bots on Twitter, instead blocking legitimate accounts and “huge” carriers using faulty content moderation tools

Production plans for the app, though, remain nebulous.   

SpaceX taking CO2 out of the air to make rocket fuel 

In yet another Tweet, Musk wrote in 2021 that SpaceX was starting a program to convert CO2 from the atmosphere into usable rocket fuel. 

“Please join if interested,” the Tweet continued. “Will also be important for Mars,” read a subsequent Tweet

After his Tweet, however, there have not been any updates on the program, even though the technology is possible and being developed by researchers, including those at the University of Cincinnati

Production of 1,000 solar roofs per week 

Musk also said he would install solar panels much more rapidly after Tesla’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity, a solar installation company run by two of Musk’s cousins, reported CNBC

“Spooling up production line rapidly,” tweeted Musk in July of 2019. “Hoping to manufacture ~1000 solar roofs/week by end of this year.” 

According to the same CNBC article, in its most productive year, 2022, Tesla only installed an average of 21 solar system installations per week. In the first, most productive quarter of 2022, peak installation only averaged 32 roofs per week, meaning that at its highest productivity, Tesla installed just 3.2% of Musk’s goal. 

Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours. 

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