A whopping $2.7 billion must be spent on the infrastructure necessary to support a forecasted 526 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2040, according to a recent report by Morgan Stanley.
Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas, one of the most widely-followed Tesla Inc. (TSLA) analysts on Wall Street, lifted his 12-month price target on the electric car pioneer from $317 to $379 this week, reflecting a near 7% upside from Wednesday close. Jonas attributes his upbeat outlook to neither the Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm’s mass-market Model 3 or any of its previous cars, but to its robust supercharger network that he expects will keep competitors lagging behind. (See also: Tesla to Rise 50%—If Nothing Goes Wrong: Morgan Stanley.)
“There has been a flurry of OEM announcements regarding accelerating electric vehicle introductions, but most offer little detail on charging and battery manufacturing strategy,” wrote the analyst. Earlier this month, General Motors Inc. (GM) saw its shares surge to new highs on plans to roll out 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023, while handfuls of other automakers including Ford Motor Co. (F) have promised to double down on transforming to meet the demands of an all-electric future.
A ‘Growing Infrastructure Footprint’
“We see Tesla's rapidly growing infrastructure footprint as a key differentiator,” wrote Jonas. He estimates that the company will expand the number of superchargers available from an estimated 6,246 in August to 10,000 by the end of the year.
“The importance of infrastructure in achieving EV penetration levels increases over time with the prevalence of larger and more sophisticated populations of EVs in use,” wrote the Morgan Stanley analyst. While traditional automakers are spared from investing in fueling infrastructure, Tesla has poured millions in the network and has taken a hit to its bottom line as a result.
"Compared to other OEMs, Tesla has made the biggest proprietary investment in superchargers and destination chargers globally," said Jonas. "In most communities, we believe this infrastructure is larger than it needs to be in preparation for the expansion of the serviceable and charge-thirsty fleet." (See also: Tesla's Most Bullish Call Yet: Nomura's $500 PT.)