Bank of America thinks Tesla's home battery being a smash hit is a 'long-shot at best'

On Monday, Tesla made headlines when CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla would announce a new product — but not a car — at an event on April 30.

Following this news, Business Insider’s Ben Zhang and Matt DeBord said that based on previous commentary out of the company, it looks like the company will probably announced some sort of home battery to power a home.

In a note to clients on Tuesday, John Lovallo at Bank of America Merrill Lynch agreed.

Lovallo said, however, that while Tesla’s new product almost certainly this “stationary storage” unit, its success is a “long-shot at best” and the market’s reaction on Monday (Tesla shares gained 3%) was a little too enthusiastic.

Here’s Lovallo:

In our view, the “new” product offering referenced today is almost certainly Tesla’s stationary storage application, the unveiling of which Musk had already teased during the 4Q conference call. Therefore, the markets positive reaction (+3%) was rather surprising and overdone, in our opinion. Furthermore, as we have written about on numerous occasions, most recently in the context of our ‘A spoon full of sugar’ report, we believe a potential market for residential stationary storage is even further down the road than Tesla’s 2020 target for profitability.

Lovallo also spoke about Tesla position in China, which has proven to be more precarious than some investors — and Musk — had previously thought.

Citing comments from China’s Xinhua state media, Musk told a conference that deliveries in the country rose 130%-150% month-on-month in March. But Lovallo said that given the “paltry” 260 deliveries estimated in February, this implies 598-650 units were delivered in March. “This hardly seems like reason for cheer, in our view, ” Lovallo writes, “particularly considering that Tesla likely heavily discounted vehicles in an effort to clear inventory.”

Lovallo has a Sell rating and a $US65 price target on shares of Tesla, which closed Monday’s session at $US190 per share.

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