Posted on November 20, 2015 by Matt Pressman
Steve Jurvetson was named to Forbes' "Midas List" of Tech's Top Investors the last four years running. As venture capitalist and partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Steve Jurvetson currently sits on the board of two Elon Musk companies, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. And, Jurvetson is the world's first Tesla Model S owner (VIN 1), and, the second Tesla Model X owner (VIN 2), following Elon Musk.
Above: The first production Tesla Model S (with the car's owner and Tesla Board member Steve Jurvetson) in June 2015, three years after the car's market release. (source: Wikipedia)
As a close confidant, friend, and steadfast investor in Elon Musk, it's always fascinating to hear Jurvetson's unique take on the Tesla Motors (TSLA) business model, the brand's future plans, and his thoughts on future competition. So we were thrilled earlier this week to catch his revealing "Studio 1.0" interview with Bloomberg Business* -- in the interview he discusses his extensive history and involvement with Tesla Motors, thoughts on autonomous driving, and possible competition (most likely) with the likes of Uber and Apple.
When asked what Tesla Model S and Model X features he likes best, Jurvetson remarks: "I get very excited about autopilot and the future of autonomous driving... and the way it will come to market [complete autonomous driving] is as a service, so imagine an Uber or Lyft-like service." This remark is especially intriguing in light of the predictions (especially from Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas) -- Jonas has been pressing Elon Musk with questions about (what he believes to be) a Tesla plan to compete in the same space as Uber. This may be another clue that this plan might be in the works.
When pressed on Apple's rumored efforts to get into the electric vehicle space, Jurvetson predicts Apple might launch their electric car "by the year 2022" but Jurvetson is quick to point out the Apple Watch and Newton as examples where Apple launched products that didn't quite hit the mark.
And, Jurvetson also discussed the forthcoming Tesla Model 3 which is currently projected to have a 200-mile range at a $35,000 starting price. He notes that the benefits of driving electric in the Model S may yield a "total cost of ownership over 5-7 years [including] fuel costs and maintenance costs" that could be comparable with a Honda Civic. After listening to Jurvetson, it becomes evident that if one factors in local tax credits as well, the Tesla Model 3 could be a serious deal for those interested in a lower-priced Tesla. It's clear the Model 3 will help Tesla go "mass market" in the coming years. And, with Musk publicly acknowledging that Tesla will top 500,000 in production volume after 2020, it's no wonder a brilliant investor like Jurvetson is so heavily invested in Tesla Motors' exciting future.
*Source: Bloomberg Business