Morgan Stanley's note lays out three stages the automaker has ahead of it before realizing the shared mobility model it predicts. The first goal of a semi-autonomous car with a human driver by 2018 seems the least far-fetched. Second, a near fully autonomous car with a "human operator" by 2025. And third, the one point that is most central to Morgan Stanley's upgrade and $465 price target, "an aggressive phase-in of shared fully autonomous vehicles" by 2025 and beyond.
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The note lists competition, regulation, consumer adoption and execution as potential risks to Jonas' shared-mobility thesis. For investors who reject the thesis, the note claims Tesla is fairly valued at $319.
While the note concedes that Tesla has not said much on the possibility of a shared-mobility model being in the company's future, Jonas wraps up his case with an excerpt from an exchange with Tesla CEO Elon Musk on a recent analyst conference call:
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 ride-sharing 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 nonanswer than from the answer.