"When one of these comes around a corner," Musk reportedly said, "people will think they are seeing something from the future."

Model $

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had to be convinced to renew his EV maker's efforts of building a $25,000 car.

Despite being a lot more enthusiastic about a robotaxi, things started looking up when designers showed him a car that had a futuristic design like the long-awaited Cybertruck, as Walter Isaacson, whose biography about the mercurial CEO is coming out next week, told Axios.

"When one of these comes around a corner," Musk reportedly said, "people will think they are seeing something from the future."

The compromise Musk and his aides at the carmaker came up with back in February was to focus on a $25,000 EV as well as a robotaxi. The plan is to make use of a next-generation engineering platform to build both on the same assembly lines.

But there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about Tesla's lofty ambitions, given the company and its outspoken CEO's track record. For one, Musk promised back in 2018 that a $25,000 vehicle to hit production by 2021 — a date, obviously, that's long come and gone.

Amphibian Frog Car

A $25,000 car could significantly undercut the cost of Tesla's other, far more expensive offerings. But getting costs down to make it all worthwhile could prove extremely difficult. For one, the Model 3 was supposed to cost $35,000, but still goes for over $40,000 before incentives.

Musk's real focus, however, appears to be a robotaxi. The billionaire told Isaacson that he still believes that robotaxis will eventually make the personal vehicle obsolete.

"There is no amount that we could possibly build that will be enough," he told the biographer, referring to a cheap, high-volume robotaxi. "Someday we want to be at 20 million a year."

So the CEO is pushing ahead, and wants the robotaxi to be a "no mirrors, no pedals, no steering wheel" living room on wheels, per Isaacson.

Whether that vision will pan out remains to be seen, especially considering the carmaker's immense difficulties in realizing its so-called "Full Self-Driving" vision.

"Let me be clear," Musk said, per Isaacson. "This vehicle must be designed as a clean robotaxi. We're going to take that risk. It's my fault if it f--ks up. But we are not going to design some sort of amphibian frog that's a halfway car. We are all in on autonomy."

Reading between the lines, we're not holding our breath about a $25,000 Tesla showing up at the dealership any time soon.

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