Tesla Inc faced a stock market reality check on Wednesday after a much hyped “Battery Day” event which Wall Street analysts judged chiefly for its omissions and hazy delivery deadlines.
Investors had expected two big announcements from Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk: the development of a “million mile” battery good for 10 years or more, and a specific cost reduction target - expressed in dollars per kilowatt-hour - that would finally drop the price of an electric vehicle below that of a gasoline car.
They got neither from the event and analysts from Swiss banking group UBS said the innovations he did unveil and the promise to deliver a sub-$25,000 mass market model within three years also came with risks attached.
“By the time (the car) arrives, there will be significant competition in the segment, from VW group, amongst others,” the bank’s analysts wrote in a note to clients.
“The market is (also) likely to take it negatively that it will take at least another year to see (some of) these (battery) innovations in a real product.”
Shares of the electric carmaker were down 6.2% at $398 in early trading, wiping off more than $24 billion from its market cap.
At $305, the average target price among the 33 brokerages who follow the company is another $100 lower and several brokerages emphasized that expectations for what the company could deliver were already out of whack with reality as the global economy heads into a potentially long-lasting recession.
Morgan Stanley said Musk had shown substantial progress, but also laid bare the scale of the task in front of the company.
“Elon can’t do it alone ... Tesla needs help to get there,” its analysts wrote.
“We saw the Battery Day deck as a call to arms to governments, suppliers, investors and engineering talent to ‘take it up a notch’ and significantly accelerate policies and investment in Tesla’s hegemony of battery manufacturing.”
The event, however, did yield some positive reviews.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank said the three-year plan for achieving 56% reduction in battery costs could materially boost Tesla’s volume and margin outlook. The brokerage moved from the sidelines to assign a “buy” rating on the stock, and raised its price target to $500 from $400.
Loup Ventures' Gene Munster, known as a Tesla bull, pointed to the company teasing opportunities in aerospace and HVAC.
“Both are examples of Tesla taking its existing auto tech and applying it to new markets, which means more revenue,” Munster wrote.
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