Tesla Motors Inc has been more open than usual about its future in recent weeks. As we head toward the shipment of the first Model X, Elon Musk has shared some of his plans for next year. Tesla Motors will, according to a September 2 tweet from the CEO, put its Model 3 Sedan into production in about 2 years. There’s more to come, however.
In a report published on Tuesday September 8, Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley made a bold prediction about the future of Tesla Motors. He said that the firm will likely reveal its plans to build a shared mobility network, a next-gen Uber, in the early part of next year.
Sharing a Tesla Motors car
Mr. Jonas first wrote about his belief in Tesla Motors car-sharing plans in a report published on August 17. Tuesday’s report kept a $465 price target and Overweight rating on the stock, but added new info to his area of focus.
Mr. Jonas said that investors he spoke to were looking more and more to shared mobility as a way for Tesla Motors to make money. He said that “the timing of Tesla’s potential entry into shared mobility”, and “competition from Apple” had become much more important to those with shares since he published his August report.
Mr. Jonas said that Uber and Tesla Motors had very different ideas about the future of shared mobility.
“Both models are addressing the same problems”, he wrote “but starting on opposite sides of the football field. The sustainable equilibrium is somewhere in between.”
Jonas reckons that Tesla Motors will surprise the world, if not those at Morgan Stanley, with “some form of shared mobility strategy before the time of the Model 3 unveiling in early 2016.” That means we’re just months away from the reveal of such a plan. There’s some key hurdles in the way, however.
Tesla Motors convinces cars to drive themselves
The reveal, and the entire shared mobility business that Mr. Jonas thinks Tesla Motors is working on, will rely on self-driving tech. Tesla Motors promised that self-driving software would come to the Model S before the end of the Summer. As September wears on it’s clear that’s not going to happen.
The firm doesn’t have the best track record with software, there’s a lot to learn before anything like an automated Uber-like Tesla fleet will exist. It’s not clear from Mr. Jonas’ report, or the words of Tesla Motors’ execs, what kind of shared mobility is being planned out of Fremont.
There are many models that might fit, but self-driving is a long way away, even at Tesla Motors. The firm will have to keep its progress slow and steady, even in the face of competing cars from Apple and Google.
Oppenheimer’s Colin Rusch, who also published a report on Tesla Motors on September 8, said that the firm was a “transformative battery-powered product company.” Putting a $340 price target on the firm he said that though those with shares understood the car market, where Tesla Motors is going is hard “for investors to wrap their heads around.”
Self driving tech, and Mr. Jonas vision of shared mobility, fall into that category. Perhaps Tesla Motors can adopt the tech as quickly and successfully as Morgan Stanley advises.