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Tesla is 'underselling' Autopilot capabilities on Model 3, says analyst

Tesla's Model 3 may end up being a bit too good for its own good, according to one analyst.

Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas says the electric car maker is "underselling" the Autopilot features he expects to be included in the Model 3 sedan to prevent it from eating up demand for the company's higher-end models, according to a note sent Monday.

Jonas said the Model 3 could have at least 19 sensors, collecting information that "will be analyzed by a liquid cooled [Nvidia] supercomputer that is 40x more powerful than the original Autopilot system."

Tesla Motors unveils the new lower-priced Model 3 sedan at the Tesla Motors design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, March 31, 2016.
Justin Prichard | AP
Tesla Motors unveils the new lower-priced Model 3 sedan at the Tesla Motors design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, March 31, 2016.

"In our opinion," he continued, "Tesla may be downplaying the role of the all-new hardware architecture of the Model 3 in terms of improved occupant and pedestrian safety to avoid cannibalization of demand of the other models (i.e. S and X) that do not have the new hardware architecture."

Tesla was not immediately available for comment. But CEO Elon Musk has suggested before that the Model 3 will not have any features unavailable in its higher-end models.

In addition, when Tesla introduced its second-generation Autopilot hardware on Oct.19, the company indicated that every Tesla car — S, X or 3 — made from that point forward would be equipped with "a new onboard computer with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous generation."

Tesla has said it plans to start the Model 3 at $35,000, whereas the Model S starts at $68,000. The Model X starts at around $85,500.

The company plans to begin initial production on the Model 3 in July and start delivering cars to early reservation holders before the end of the year.

Watch: Musk taunts shortsellers