Cathie Wood's Ark Invest remains a believer in Tesla, projecting shares of the electric vehicle maker will reach $4,600 apiece in 2026. In an interview Thursday on "Squawk Box," analyst Tasha Keeney explained Ark's updated price target , which was rolled out prior to Tesla's better-than-expected earnings report Wednesday night . Tesla is the largest holding in Ark's flagship exchange-traded fund, Ark Innovation (ARKK). Its weighing is nearly 10% , as of Thursday, and the position's market value in the ETF stands at more than $1 billion. The Ark Innovation ETF has struggled mightily since early last year, prompting louder criticism of Wood and the firm's investment style. Nevertheless, Ark's bold, long-term Tesla price targets are noteworthy because they've been reached before even though they were seen as wildly bullish at the time. Tesla has long been a battleground stock on Wall Street. In 2018, Wood told CNBC she believes Tesla will one day reach $4,000 per share , which has been eclipsed when accounting for Tesla's 5-for-1 stock split in August 2020. Tesla closed Wednesday's session at $977.20 per share. The stock's all-time high of $1,243.49 came back in November. The new call At the core of Ark's updated price target is Tesla potentially launching a so-called robotaxi business. A network of self-driving ride-hail vehicles has been part of Ark's thesis on Tesla before. However, Keeney suggested Tesla's plans to build a dedicated vehicle increases optimism on this potential business, which Ark predicts will be very profitable. "The fact that they're planning on producing this vehicle means they're fully committed to this vision," she said. "You can promise something if you're just delivering it on a software basis," Keeney added, alluding to Tesla's Full Self Driving (FDS) beta package. Drivers must still stay attentive and keep their hands on the steering wheel despite the software's name . It does not make the car fully autonomous. "If you're late on that promise, people just keep buying on Full Self Driving. You still make money. If you're late on something and you're dedicating hardware to it, that costs money," Keeney said. On Wednesday night's earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tesla is "aiming for volume production in 2024" of a vehicle that is "highly optimized for autonomy, meaning it would not have steering wheels or pedals." Musk has been known to announce new Tesla products or offerings that ultimately do not materialize on the timeline he predicted. For example, in 2019, he said Tesla would have 1 million robotaxis on the road "next year," but that has not happened yet. During the same 2019 event, Musk said within two years Tesla would be making vehicles that do not have pedals or steering wheels. Tesla is not making those vehicles, which on the surface sound similar to what he discussed on Wednesday's earnings call. Robotaxis and EVs Keeney said Ark believes a potential robotaxi business for Tesla could contribute more than 50% of Tesla's expected value in 2026. The firm expects Tesla to be worth roughly $6.7 trillion in 2026. "This is an extremely profitable business. It totally changes what they're currently doing. It turns it into a recurring revenue model, instead of a one-off car sales model, and we think it could be very profitable," she said. On the traditional automotive front, Ark's bull case assumes Tesla will sell 17 million cars in 2026. Last year, Tesla delivered 936,172 vehicles , up about 87% from 499,550 deliveries in 2020. Deliveries are the closet approximation to sales that the company discloses. LMC Automotive expected global light-duty vehicle sales of 103.6 million in 2026, up from estimates of 82.4 million in 2022. — CNBC's Mike Wayland contributed to this report.
Customers experience new energy electric vehicles at a Tesla store in Shanghai, China, On December 4, 2021.
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Cathie Wood's Ark Invest remains a believer in Tesla, projecting shares of the electric vehicle maker will reach $4,600 apiece in 2026.