Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock rallied on Thursday after another bullish research note from Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas. He suggests that the Model 3 will end up being 10 times safer than the average car on the road right now. But the only thing about this that seems safe right now is that there’s no way we could possibly know if his flight of fancy will end up being correct.
On the other and, CEO Elon Musk just purchased nearly 100,000 more shares of Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock, demonstrating his confidence in the Model 3 and the company’s future in general, even as its business model becomes more complicated with the SolarCity integration.
Will the Model 3 be a super safe car?
Jonas, who has an Overweight rating and $305 price target on Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock, freely admits that more that 100% of the upside between the stock’s current price and his target comes from Tesla Mobility, a segment that doesn’t yet exist. He’s also confident that the Model 3 will be a much safer car than most cars currently on the road because he believes in the artificial intelligence that’s behind the company’s Autopilot software.
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He pointed to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk in January in which he said they’re targeting a 90% reduction with the second version of their Autopilot hardware “as the software matures.” Essentially, he expects the Model 3 to benefit greatly from all the miles being logged by the Model S and Model X vehicles that are already on the road. The idea is that as drivers use Autopilot more and more on their Teslas, all Tesla Inc (TSLA) vehicles become safer because the system “learns.”
Jonas estimates that by 2025 or 2030, Tesla Inc (TSLA)’s vehicles could “harvest” about 400 million miles a day, assuming 65,000 miles per car for the Tesla Mobility segment he envisions for his Street-high price target on Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock. The segment is essentially an autonomous version of ride-sharing services like those offered by Uber, and Musk has mentioned something about it in the past. The problem is that it’s unclear when such a service will come into existence.
Musk buys more Tesla stock
Nothing demonstrates management’s confidence in a company more than buying more shares, and Elon Musk snapped up more than 95,000 additional shares of Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock earlier this month. An SEC filing dated March 21 reveals that Musk purchased 95,420 more shares in a transaction on March 17, paying $262 apiece for those shares through his trust. After the transaction, he owns nearly 33.6 million shares of Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock indirectly through his trust.
The timing of his purchase is interesting, as the shares certainly aren’t cheap right now compared to where they have been over the last year. However, it could be the vote of confidence more investors need to get on board.
Shares of Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock rose as high as $257.67 during regular trading hours on Thursday.