Tesla, Inc.'s (TSLA) much anticipated mass-market electric car Model 3 could be the safest car on the road when it is released, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas.

In a recent note, the analyst extolled the car's "underrated" safety features. "Acceleration from 0 to 60 with a 2-handle? That's easy (and expected). 250 mile range? It's in the specs. What about a target of making it 10x safer than your current car…? We think the Model 3 will feature hardware and software that provide a level of active safety that could significantly lead all other cars on sale today and could, if the company achieves its goal, be an order of magnitude (i.e. 10x) safer than the average car on the road. According to nearly every OEM we talk to, safety is the number one determinant of car purchases. Look for safety to be the 'ah-hah!' moment for this car due to launch this year," writes Jonas. (See also: More Model 3 Details Emerge on Tesla Earnings Call.)

His reference to the Model 3's hardware and software follows Tesla CEO Elon Musk's announcement last October that all Model 3 cars will be equipped with upgraded self-driving hardware and software, a capability the company refers to as Autopilot. The feature was the center of controversy last year after a Tesla driver died on a Florida highway while using the feature. Back then, Jonas said that the term "could create a consumer expectation problem" along with a "potential moral hazard." In his note last week, he specified that he was referring to the company's safety potential for "automated driving," which requires a driver's assistance at all times to ensure intervention if something goes wrong. (See also: Can Tesla Do the Impossible?)

The analyst also wrote that he expected Tesla's Model Y, an electric SUV, to be at the center of its on-demand car service because it had "a larger passenger compartment, luggage space, and modular seat configuration." Yesterday, Musk said that Model Y was still "a few years away."

Tesla is expected to start Model 3 production in July. Musk posted a video of a release candidate for the Model 3 yesterday. 

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