One research firm has a bold new call for Tesla shares

Wall Street research firm Jefferies has a big new call for Tesla: $US350.

In a note to clients on Tuesday, the firm published the results of a recently conducted survey of 700 people that shows Tesla could sell “at least” 500,000 cars per year by 2020.

Following this survey, Jefferies initiated research coverage on the stock with a “Buy” rating at $US350 price target.

According to data from Bloomberg, only Stifel, which has a price target of $US400, is projecting more upside for Tesla shares.

In pre-market trade on Tuesday, Tesla shares were up about 3% to $US238 per share.

In its note, Jefferies said that 68% of all respondents to its survey are considering alternative fuel vehicles, with 7% of those considering a Tesla.

The firm said that these numbers imply a 500,000 car per year target for Tesla by the end of the decade is “feasible,” and would still give Tesla have less than 0.5% of the global car market. Concerns about Tesla’s poor sales figures in Tesla are also overblown, Jefferies said.

Jefferies adds that its survey indicates there is little excitement from consumers about an electric car from Google or Apple.

The firm also said that Tesla’s Energy unit gives the company “a distinct competitive advantage.”

Last week, Tesla announced its energy unit, which will make batteries to power homes and businesses.

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