Right now, Tesla is a luxury brand, but Adam Jonas, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, thinks you’re going to be seeing Teslas everywhere soon.
Jonas thinks the number of Teslas on the road will be about three times larger than its current level by 2019. That would be about 531,000 cars in total, Jonas said in a recent note to clients.
His prediction is a pretty easy one to believe. The company is in the midst of rolling out its first mass-marketed car, the Model 3. The new vehicle starts at $US35,000, and Tesla is currently working through about 450,000 preorders.
By the end of 2017, Tesla has said they want to be producing 20,000 cars per month. There’s ample demand; it’s just a matter of whether the company can deliver on supply.
“It has been generations since the investment community witnessed such a high growth rate in the population of a single auto firm. We believe investors should get ready for a mix of opportunities and risks related to this nonlinear parc growth,” Jonas said.
One of those risks is the public growing tired of the Model 3. If all 450,000 Model 3 preorders are filled, Jonas predicts you will be seeing the vehicle multiple times a day in some US cities. A big factor of the Model 3’s appeal is the promise of an affordable entry into Tesla’s luxury universe. Customers get to “own a Tesla” and have all their friends “Oooh” and “Awww” at their purchase. That “wow” factor diminishes as Teslas become more commonplace.
Another risk lies in Tesla’s supercharging network. Tesla is working on expanding the network, but half a million new cars would definitely add some strain, Jonas said. Jonas predicts that the supercharging network is large enough to handle the new vehicles, but only time will tell. Jonas pointed out that other car manufacturers would be watching Tesla’s efforts to gauge the level of investment needed to build out a similar infrastructure network for their own vehicles.
One potential benefit of a huge number of Teslas on the road comes from the miles those cars collectively drive. Every car Tesla currently produces comes with enough cameras and sensors to be fully autonomous, and those sensors also let Tesla gather the real-world driving data needed to train the autonomous driving systems. Other companies either don’t have the same level of data collection, like Uber, or don’t have the same number of miles, like Waymo, that Tesla does. Jonas predicts that the company will be driving more than 100 million miles a day in 2024.
If everything goes right for Tesla, Jonas predicts 32 million Tesla vehicles on the road by 2040. Jonas is neutral on the stock and has a $US317 price target for Tesla.
Tesla is up 61.21% this year.
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