This Tesla bear thinks the company will hit its key Model 3 production target

  • Tesla should finally be able to hit its desired production target of 5,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of the second quarter, said CFRA analyst Efraim Levy.
  • Levy maintains his sell rating on the stock, saying Tesla's share price is still too high when compared with fundamentals.
Tesla's Model 3 at the Tesla store in Washington, D.C.
Salwan Georges | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Tesla's Model 3 at the Tesla store in Washington, D.C.

Tesla will finally be able to hit one of its most closely watched production targets by the end of the second quarter despite a history of delays, says a bearish analyst.

CFRA analyst Efraim Levy raised his price target on the electric car maker from $275 to $300 on Wednesday, citing the company's efforts to ramp up production on the Model 3 sedan and the unusual support the stock has received from investors.

In particular, Tesla is likely to finally meet its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week by the end of the second quarter, Levy told CNBC on Wednesday.

"That will be a big deal the bulls can hang their hats on," he said.

Tesla originally expected to hit that goal by the end of 2017, but has since moved the deadline twice — first to the end of the first quarter of 2018 and then to the end of the second.

The company most recently cited battery production issues as the key factor limiting Model 3 production.

That situation is "ironic, since battery modules really should be the thing we're best at," said CEO Elon Musk on the company's fourth-quarter earnings conference call.

The Model 3, which is eventually meant to be Tesla's mid-priced sedan, is widely considered key to Tesla's goal of moving from a small maker of expensive, high-performance electric cars to a maker of emission-free vehicles for the masses.

Still, Levy maintained his sell rating on the stock.

While the company stands a good chance of hitting its production target, there is still plenty of risk in the stock, he said. Tesla may still have trouble achieving profitability, and there are other variables in play that could keep the company from hitting important milestones.

Moreover, Levy's price target is still below Tesla's current share price, which was around $325 on Wednesday. Tesla shares have risen more than 15 percent in the last year, fueled in part by anticipation over the Model 3.

"It is very hard to find a way to get me enthused about Tesla shares at current levels," Levy said. "People are paying a lot upfront for future potential."