Tesla's Stock Remains Insane
Despite it only being a little over a month into 2020, Tesla’s stock has already doubled since New Year’s. Share prices surged to over $900 before Tuesday’s trading, leaving many scratching their heads as to how one of the smallest global manufacturers manages to clean up so well on Wall Street.
Seeking answers, Bloomberg looked to industry analysts and executives from rival car manufacturers to better understand Tesla’s mojo — and determine whether all the stock heat is warranted. The gist appears to be that Elon Musk and company are simply running away with battery technology, something that’s difficult to refute. However, some claims that Tesla has surpassed what constitutes an automaker feel overblown and not entirely consistent with reality.
“There’s a recognition that Tesla is in a preeminent position in terms of EV technology,” Peter Rawlinson, the chief executive officer of Lucid Motors and former Tesla employee, told the outlet at Monday’s BloombergNEF Summit in San Francisco. “They’re even further ahead than has been reported, and I think the gap is widening, not closing.”
While customers often have to pay more, the maximum range of Tesla vehicles consistently trumps whatever mainstream manufacturers can produce. Porsche’s Taycan was clearly designed as performance alternative to the Model S and is quite expensive at $103,800 (to start). Yet its maximum range barely exceeds 200 miles. Tesla’s sedan starts about $30,000 lower and will poop out closer to 370 miles.
That’s a cherry-picked example to highlight disparities. There are certainly smaller EVs with more reasonable MSRPs that can break the 250-mile barrier. But Tesla remains king in the premium market. Other brands can’t seem to touch its battery range, and it’s the only car business with a comprehensive network of EV charging stations.
“I’m not being critical of the Germans — it’s wonderful they’re creating these cars and coming in,” explained Adam Jonas, analyst at Morgan Stanley. “But it just shows much of this technological gulf remains.”
“We think they are pretty far ahead in battery and EV technology,” Jonas also said. “Tesla has moved from being seen as an auto stock to be seeing as a tech stock mentioned in the same breath as Amazon, Apple and Google.”
Tesla is absolutely an automaker; endlessly favoring anything that can be considered a tech company seems like a rather short-sighted way of trading. However, it is true that the business isn’t viewed the same way legacy automakers are. Plenty of people see Tesla as more than a car brand. They’re wrong, of course, but that matters little on the trading floor.
Waves of criticism don’t appear to have changed many opinions, either. We’ve often complained about CEO Elon Musk making unkept promises, and the whole world seems to be gradually turning on Autopilot, but it doesn’t appear to be hurting the company. In fact, Tesla’s ability to market itself has undoubtedly helped it get to where it is today. Major delays that would have embarrassed an established automaker were little more than hiccups for the American EV brand. We’re always one press conference or mysterious tweet away from Tesla being back in the headlines, usually underpinning some important change or new product. Combine that with an early lead in developing electric vehicles and you’ve won yourself a prize.
“The thesis for Tesla’s business miracle is rooted in the handful of years that the company operated with effectively no competition,” Gene Munster, managing partner of the venture capital firm Loup Ventures and long-time Apple analyst, wrote Monday in a research note. “Tesla has nearly a decade head start in EVs as other automakers under-invested in the space.”
Munster said Tesla’s valuation is as valid as investors choose it to be, predicting its market cap surpassing $140 billion over the next five years if traders continue prioritizing tech companies. He also said the latest surge was probably the result of short sellers — the bane of Elon Musk’s existence.
[Image: JL IMAGES/Shutterstock]
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