by Keith Fitz-Gerald, Money Morning
I believe Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) stock will double within the next 12 months.
Bold? You bet. I know it’s not a popular opinion. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the disdain for TSLA‘s bull run is only surpassed by the herd’s disdain for the overall bull market itself.
For every quarter since at least Q1/2013, any sign of strength by this company has been met with jeers from some pretty powerful detractors.
From the headquarters of GM to the front page of the MIT Technology Review, the chorus has been pretty consistent: Tesla is a hopelessly inflated stock, a flash in the pan and nothing more.
This company is on track to see a stock explosion that will make its surge back in the spring of 2013 look like a speed bump. I want you to know today that I believe we are on the cusp of a few key developments that will make electric cars in general and Tesla in particular the wave of the future.
Let me explain why….
The X-Factor for Tesla
You hardly ever see this recognized in the mainstream media, but Tesla has one irreplaceable asset that also happens to be its greatest advantage over its competitors. The company has been blessed with the most innovative CEO on the planet: Elon Musk.
Creativity as a thinker who can’t be boxed in by entrenched competitors, the ability to cheerfully put tens of millions of his own money behind his vision when necessary, a solid grasp of what technology means for the industry he operates in… all of these are great qualities in a CEO. Any company, big or small, is lucky to have a chief executive with just two of them. Tesla has all three in Elon Musk.
He’s a visionary who can afford to be a visionary. We saw proof of this in April 2013, when Musk guaranteed a buyback value for his electric cars, which he pledged to honor with his own money should Tesla be unable to.
His main goal in doing this was to make the cars an even safer investment for potential buyers, softening the $69,000 price tag with a buyback value personally guaranteed by a billionaire. But there’s more to it than that.
It’s no secret Tesla’s been on a great run so far. Sales were up 55% in 2013, as the company sold 10,000 more Model S cars than it did in 2012. Revenue was also great: just over $2 billion for the calendar year of 2013, five times greater than that of 2012. But the naysayers argue that the company was about to hit a brick wall: demand. The universe of customers who would shell out $70,000 for a car, even an environmentally friendly one, was always very limited, they argue. The demand for Tesla’s 70k cars would eventually fall, and fall hard.
And you know what? They’re absolutely right. They know it. I know it. Elon Musk knows it, too.
That’s why he’s attacking his car’s production costs. And unlike conventional automakers who flail about, he knows exactly where to focus. Almost half of the production cost for the Model S comes from the costs associated with its batteries. Solve the battery problem, and you solve the cost problem, making a $35,000 Model S an inevitability.
The idea of that terrifies Detroit, and should thrill the hearts of Tesla stock investors everywhere.
A $35,000 Model S means a spike in demand like nothing the company has ever seen, making the 2013 surge look like a warm-up. Tesla will already be producing 1,000 cars a week by the end of 2014, so it’s well-positioned to capitalize on any such boom immediately