Tesla shares surged on Tuesday on a mix of news, including the Model X crash test rating. There was also a price target adjustment by one Tesla perma-bull and a massive upgrade from another analyst who sees Tesla shares surpassing $450 in the next 12 months. Clearly, Tesla bulls have a lot to cheer for.
Model X crash test rating announced
For one thing, Tesla announced the Model X crash test rating today, revealing that the vehicle is the first SUV ever to achieve five stars in every category. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the Model X crash test rating today, saying that it awarded five stars not only in every category but also every sub-category, Tesla said.
The automaker added that the Model X was also found to have the lowest probability of injury of every SUV the agency has ever tested. In fact, it claims that of all the vehicles the NHTSA has ever tested, only the Model S had a lower probability of injury than the Model X. The Model X crash test rating revealed that occupants of the SUV had a 93% overall probability of walking away from a serious crash without serious injuries, the company added.
Tesla explained that the reason the Model X crash test rating was so much better than those of SUVs that run on gasoline was “because of its all-electric architecture and powertrain design.” It added that the EV’s battery pack is mounted under the floor, which gives it a much lower center of gravity than other SUVs.
Boosting bear case for Tesla shares
The Model X crash test rating is a rare diversion of attention from the upcoming Model 3, around which almost all of Wall Street’s attention revolves when it comes to Tesla. However, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, a perma-bull when it comes to Tesla shares, feels that at the company’s current valuation, it isn’t all about the Model 3 any longer.
He said in a note dated June 12 that he has boosted his bear case for Tesla shares to $175, although his bull case remains at $511 while his base case stays at $305. It’s a significant increase for his bear case on Tesla shares, which previously was at $50.
Jonas said that the vast majority of investors he has spoken to about the company recently expect it to launch the Model 3 on time and “achieve some level of commercial success right out of the gate.” He added that investors who buy Tesla shares at their current valuation must be doing so only after considering what it would take to double or maybe even triple its market value in the medium term. He doesn’t believe that “a highly successful Model 3 and its progeny” could do it or even an electric autonomous semi, solar roofs or the Powerwall energy storage system.
What can send Tesla shares skyrocketing?
He feels that the only thing big enough to push Tesla shares to double or triple their current value is the mobility division he’s been focused on for a long time. Thus far, CEO Elon Musk has alluded to it but not said much about it, so Tesla Mobility exists mostly in Jonas’ imagination, or at least it will until the company provides real concrete details about it.
However, Jonas also feels that Tesla shares will also surge if the company proves the perma-bears wrong. He explained that much of the short thesis for Tesla is based on it depending entirely on its “continuing dependency on the stock market to fund ever more ambitious spending plans that may never generate positive cash flow.” As such, he feels that if Model 3 demand exceeds the company’s ability to produce and its cash consumption doesn’t worsen, Tesla shares could “remain well supported in the near to medium term.”
On the other hand, if Tesla is able to achieve cash flows of a level that can fund reinvestment in its businesses, its stock could perform much better, he added.
There’s a new bull in town
But Jonas isn’t the only analyst to weigh in on Tesla shares this week. Berenberg analyst Alexander Haissl said in a note to investors on Monday that he upgraded them from Hold to Buy. He also boosted his price target from $193 all the way up to a Street-high $464.
He feels that major automakers are more complacent about EV technology than what investors realize, noting that most have no “clear pathway to high-volume EV production” before the mid-2020s. As such, he believes that Tesla will be handed a “near-monopolistic opportunity to gain market share and outcompete the incumbent automotive industry.
Tesla shares jumped 4.72% to close at $375.95 on Tuesday.