- Tesla’s most bullish analyst, Pierre Ferragu of New Street Research, toured the company’s Fremont, California factory last week.
- The Model 3’s “biblical simplicity” blew him away, taking far fewer steps than traditional vehicles.
- Now the challenge for Tesla becomes maintaining production and increasing its rate.
After a recent visit to the company’s Fremont, California factory, analyst Pierre Ferragu of New Street Research, far and away Tesla’s most bullish analyst on Wall Street, said the sedan is “biblical” in its simplicity.
“We could see the Model 3 assembled, from an empty body to a fully functional car in a bit more than 40 steps and 90 minutes, on a line about 1,000 feet long,” Ferragu said in a note to clients Tuesday. “Its simplicity is unbelievable.”
A comparable car by any traditional automaker could take anywhere from 130 to 200 steps, Ferragu says, easily setting the Model 3 apart. The findings are similar to what UBS’ Evidence Lab found when tearing down a Model 3 earlier this year, finding “next-gen, military grade” tech below the finish.
The car could get even simpler.
“Model 3 has a bit more than a kilometer of cable, vs. 3x that for equivalent traditional premium cars. But this still feels half-baked,” Ferragu said. “Ultimately, a car with a battery, a motor or two and a screen should have 2 power systems (high and low voltage) and one communication network. For that, about 100m of cabling per car should be necessary.”
And while UBS and New Street have wild differences in their price targets (Ferragu is the most bullish analyst on Wall Street, with a price target of $530 per share, while UBS remains sell-rated with a $230 price target as of November) they do agree on one thing: the “affordable” Model 3 version promised by Elon Musk at a $35,000 isn’t coming any time soon.
“All these levers combined have a lot of depth and should be more than enough to get to 10,000 Model 3 per week at the end of next year,” Ferragu said of the company’s ability to increase production “from an average run-rate of over 4,000 in the third quarter, at high price points only (~$59k ASP) and in the US and Canada only. “
Shares of Tesla were trading at $364 Tuesday morning, up 14% since the beginning of the year after the company turned a surprise profit on its third-quarter earnings report in October.
“We conclude 2019 is going to be a fairly exciting year,” he said. “Tesla is now profitable, generates cash and is ahead of a nice expansion trajectory for volumes and margins.”