TSLA overvalued, but not because it's a car company

Is Tesla really worth it's current valuation? Depends if you see it as a car company, or an energy company, or something else entirely.

TSLA overvalued, but not because it's a car company

Telsa (TSLA) stock hit the skids this week after Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a client note and as reported by WSJ:

"We believe the shares are worth $320, but perhaps not so quickly and not for some of the reasons we believe are driving the market," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a note to clients. He added that he doesn't foresee the stock appreciating "so consistently and one-directionally from here."

So Jonas/Morgan Stanley is still bullish and overweight on TSLA, but because it's a car company?

Toyota (TM), the world's biggest car manufacturer, trades at $117; Volkswagen, the world's most impressive car co (behind Tesla, imho) trades on a number of Euro exchanges in the range $179-$218; while Ford (F) trades at $16, GM at $34 and Honda (HMC) at $34.

Yes Tesla obviously makes cars, but to me it looks like a battery tech (energy) and electric drive train company. Valued at $320 ..?

How well Tesla can scale this business beyond its own vehicles should determine the company's forward value, especially since the $35,000 tagged "consumer" Tesla is still well out of reach of most consumers. (It obviously doesn't look like it for Tesla-philes or Wall Street analysts, but it most certainly is.)

Perhaps Morgan Stanley's $320 price target is right and the underlying business was discussed in the client note? If so the media missed it.

As an aside, I totally agree with Adam Jonas’ astute observation regarding the "end of driving":

"Our 15 year [discounted cash flow] coincides with the end of human driving and the dawn of crowd sourced mobility and mega fleets," Mr. Jonas said. "Assuming people even buy cars at all, what will determine Tesla’s strategic and competitive advantage as a provider of mobility? ... The rules are changing and at least some incumbent [auto makers, such as BMW] are not falling asleep at the (disappearing) steering wheel."