The talk of the town is Tesla - is it the ultimate choice for the long haul?

The talk of the town is Tesla - is it the ultimate choice for the long haul?

If you've been following Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) recently, chances are you've come across predominantly unfavorable news coverage. Amidst challenges in the electric vehicle (EV) sector, consecutive rounds of workforce reductions, and speculation about the cancellation of its eagerly awaited sub-$25,000 model, Tesla seems to be encountering a series of setbacks.

As negative reports continue to mount and investors find their resilience tested, it begs the question: Does Tesla still present a promising long-term investment opportunity?

Analyzing Tesla's value

In contrast to its counterparts in the automotive industry, Tesla's stock is deemed pricey and overestimated. This is evident when analyzing the P/E ratios of various companies. Presently, Tesla's P/E ratio stands at 42, which is fivefold higher than that of the second most valuable automaker, Toyota, and approximately twice as high as that of BYD, a China-based electric vehicle manufacturer.

Despite Tesla's ample profit margins and efficient mass production of electric vehicles, its stock isn't a compelling buy solely based on automotive factors. However, when considering Tesla's future initiatives, its potential becomes evident, suggesting that it may be currently undervalued.

Many investors view Tesla as the prime opportunity to tap into the future potential of artificial intelligence (AI), despite the necessity for additional development before the company can fully leverage its efforts in this field.

The road ahead is why Tesla is undervalued

CEO Elon Musk aims to elevate Tesla to the status of the world's most valuable company in the future. This objective hinges on enhancing the capabilities of its full self-driving software and advancing its humanoid robot, Optimus.

On the autonomous driving front, Musk envisions launching a robotaxi service eventually. With vehicles capable of autonomous operation, Musk intends to revolutionize the ride-hailing industry, foreseeing it as a venture with nearly limitless demand. Analysts widely view this as a potential turning point in transportation.

While the precise potential of such groundbreaking technology is challenging to gauge, ARK Invest conducted a Monte Carlo simulation to estimate its impact. Their findings suggest that robotaxis could yield revenue of up to $440 billion, a significant leap from 2023's total revenue.

Regarding Optimus, its potential, though commendable, may not match that of robotaxis. Morgan Stanley analysts project that Optimus could disrupt approximately 30% of the global labor market by assuming repetitive and hazardous tasks currently handled by humans. Musk anticipates Optimus eventually surpassing Tesla's vehicle manufacturing revenue.

Optimus is already deployed in Tesla factories, undertaking basic tasks. Musk anticipates expanding its responsibilities by year-end, with plans for consumer and market deployment by 2025's close.

The opportunity at hand today

From a purely electric vehicle (EV) standpoint, justifying an investment in Tesla might pose challenges. Despite its ongoing efforts to ramp up EV production and benefit from the global shift towards EV adoption, Tesla's true potential lies in its artificial intelligence (AI) ventures.

For risk-averse investors, it may not be prudent to allocate funds to Tesla, especially considering the short-term hurdles it faces. However, for those with a long-term perspective and a tolerance for risk, Tesla could be viewed as one of the top investment opportunities available.

Looking beyond Tesla's basic financial metrics, it's important to heed the wisdom of Warren Buffett, one of the world's most renowned investors. He famously advised to "be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful." Current sentiment surrounding Tesla, evident through online discussions, tends towards fear.

While negative publicity alone isn't a sufficient reason to invest, Tesla's track record of success, advancements in AI technology, and the potential societal impact of these innovations position it as a compelling choice for growth-oriented investors with a long-term horizon.

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The article is excerpted from finance.
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