Morgan Stanley bumps up its Tesla price target

Model 3 eventScreenshot/TeslaTesla’s Model 3 handover event.

Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas raised his price target for Tesla shares, to $US317 from $US305.

The carmaker’s shares are already well above that, at $US366 and up 70% year-to-date. Jonas, though, also has a “bull case” price target which he raised to $US526 from $US511.

The shares were up another 2% on Monday.

“Both moves are fully explained by an increase in our valuation of the core auto business and we make no changes at this time to our valuations of Tesla Mobility, Tesla Energy, or Solar City,” Jonas wrote in his research note.

This continues a theme for the analyst. He has been focused on Tesla ability to build and deliver vehicles and hasn’t become overly distracted by the company’s additional business.

However, Jonas did highlight advantages provided by Tesla Supercharger network.

“Although other auto companies have launched and will continue to launch electric vehicles, we are not aware of any other auto company that is building out the necessary after-sales infrastructure to support a significant volume of electric vehicles in the car parc,” he wrote. “EV infrastructure will be crucial to enable an ownership and operating experience commensurate with the product.”

Viewed from another perspective, maintaining a far-flung refuelling system is a cost that potentially competing automakers haven’t had to absorb. It also remains to be seen whether Tesla’s Supercharger network will be able to handle an influx of hundreds of thousands of new vehicles over the next few years, as the Model 3 becomes more prevalent on roadways.

Jonas also reiterated his belief that Tesla’s real competition will come not from established automakers, but from technology companies. This is a controversial view.

While Waymo has racked out millions of self-driving miles, it has yet to commercialize its tech. Uber’s nearly $US70-billion pre-IPO valuation is in doubt as the companies endures an increasingly nasty management crisis. And Apple has yet to provide much clarity on its plans for what remains of its “Project Titan” transportation initiative.

Get the latest Tesla stock price here.

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