By on August 18, 2015

2012 Tesla Model S

Tesla’s ride-sharing business could be worth hundreds of millions to the company in the future, an analyst for Morgan Stanley said Monday.

Adam Jonas increased his price target for Tesla from $280 to $465 — but said the stock could go even higher to $611 — based on his forecast that Tesla could introduce an autonomous ride-sharing service by as early as 2018, Bloomberg reported.

It’s at least the third time that Jonas has publicly pumped Tesla’s stock.

Jonas says that Tesla’s future could be in part-time car ownership or autonomous sharing, which could position the carmaker with the likes of Apple or Google who may be building cars for those purposes.

Jonas dubbed the prospective venture “Tesla Mobility” although the automaker hasn’t publicly shared plans for that kind of service. Jonas said the automaker could make public plans for a ride-sharing program in 12 to 18 months, with a launch shortly after the mid-size Model 3 in 2017. He predicted that Tesla could launch a fully autonomous, ride sharing program in roughly 10 years.

Before people could split payments for robot cars, Jonas says that there would be two phases: a semi-autonomous phase and then a nearly completely autonomous phase before launching a fully driver-less car in 2025.

Jonas asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk about the program earlier this month during an earnings call and Musk was predictably tight-lipped:

Jonas: First question: Steve Jurvetson was recently quoted saying that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told him that if by 2020 Tesla’s cars are autonomous, that he’d want to buy all of them. Is this a real, I mean, forget the 2020 for a moment, but is this a real business opportunity for Tesla? Supplying cars to ridesharing firms, or does Tesla just cut out the middleman and sell on-demand, electric mobility services directly from the company on its own platform?

Musk: That’s an insightful question.

Jonas: You don’t have to answer it.

Musk: I don’t think I should answer it.

Jonas: Sometimes you can tell more from the non-answer than from the answer.

Shares of Tesla were up 1.5 percent in early trading Tuesday to $259.05.

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