Elon Musk claims a million Teslas will drive themselves in a year. Safety advocates have concerns

Russ Mitchell, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Tesla would need billions to fund such an ambitious project, though. The company, tight on cash, has been cutting back on research and capital expenditures. Several Wall Street analysts say Musk will need to raise billions of new capital, and can't explain why the company hasn't done so. Musk has said there's been no need.

Adam Jonas, analyst at Morgan Stanley, asked Musk on Monday where he would get the money to fund his robo-taxi effort. Musk said it would be self funding, and that Tesla may not be cash-flow positive again until sometime next year.

Daniel Ives at Wedbush Securities expects a "train wreck quarter" on Wednesday, with Tesla posting big losses off of stalled sales. Still, he said in a recent investor note, "we firmly believe in the long term vision for Tesla and expect self driving autonomous technology will be the linchpin of the company's success."

The range in target prices for Tesla stock is almost bizarre, reflected wildly different opinions about Tesla's growth prospects. The stock closed trading Monday at $262.75 a share, down 3.9 percent.

The Ark Invest money management group sees Tesla trading at $4,000 as self-drive technology becomes more popular. Ives puts an "outperform" rating on Tesla, with a 12-month price target of $365.


At the other end of the spectrum, Garrett Nelson of CFRA recommends Tesla stockholders sell, with a target price of $225 a share. And short sellers have set a target price as low as zero.

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