Elon Musk, CEO of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), recently posted a controversial tweet. Apparently, Tesla’s full self-driving (FSD) feature will soon cost more. Not everyone will appreciate this announcement, but a potential revenue increase could boost TSLA stock.
Is it breaking news anymore to say that Musk said or wrote something divisive? Probably not, but the man is still capable of moving markets and generating press coverage. Today, however, we won’t be discussing Musk’s views on oil and gas drilling, or his joke about buying British soccer/football team Manchester United (NYSE:MANU).
Rather, we’ll focus on the potential of the Tesla share price to move higher — perhaps even to $500 before the end of the year — as the automaker moves aggressively into the self-driving field. There are bound to be bumps along the way, but rest assured, Musk will make it a thrilling ride.
What’s Happening With TSLA Stock?
By now, there’s a pretty good chance you’re aware of Tesla’s recent 3-for-1 share split. Just this event, by itself, could propel TSLA stock to $500 or more. After all, a more affordable stock is bound to be more attractive to retail investors.
Granted, the share split didn’t have an immediate positive impact. That’s actually great news, though, if you’ve been sitting on the sidelines and waiting for a favorable entry point.
How much longer will TSLA stock stay near $300? It’s hard to say, but Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rozner envisions a $375 price target on the shares. Apparently, Rozner spent a week at Tesla’s new Berlin “gigafactory” and was duly impressed.
A $375 price target might actually be too conservative, though. Musk has already hinted at a powerful catalyst (or two), as two new EV models are apparently ready to be shipped out. “Tesla 500 mile range Semi Truck starts shipping this year, Cybertruck next year,” to be precise.
Higher Price for Tesla’s Self-Driving Feature Could Increase Revenue
Sure, the road to $500 may be paved with a more affordable Tesla share price, and/or with new vehicle models. However, Tesla’s autonomous driving feature is what might get TSLA stock over that $500 hump in 2022.
Just to be clear, Tesla didn’t intend for its self-driving features to be fully autonomous:
“Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability are intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment. While these features are designed to become more capable over time, the currently enabled features.”
So, don’t expect a fully self-driving Tesla vehicle anytime soon. Still, drivers should at least expect Tesla’s FSD features to help them “navigate to and from specific destinations, among other driver-assist features,” according to The Verge.
Clearly, Musk must be quite confident in Tesla’s ability to sell FSD to the public. His recent, buzzworthy tweet declared: “After wide release of FSD Beta 10.69.2, price of FSD will rise to $15k in North America on September 5th. Current price will be honored for orders made before Sept 5th, but delivered later.”
This constitutes a $3,000 price increase. A follow-up tweet added, “Note, you can upgrade your existing car to FSD in 2 mins via the Tesla app.”
In any case, assuming people are willing to pay $3,000 more for FSD, this could create a revenue windfall for Tesla. That’s not an unreasonable assumption, given Tesla’s loyal following and its dominance in the U.S. EV market.
What You Can Do Now
Each and every time people come up with reasons why TSLA stock won’t march higher, they always end up being proved wrong. Why should this time be any different?
Whether Tesla shares reach $500 in 2022 or 2023 isn’t the central question. Rather, it’s a question of which catalyst will push the stock over the edge. If it’s not the share split or Tesla’s upcoming new vehicle models, then perhaps it will be the company’s foray into (almost) autonomous driving. It’s an idea worth considering, at least: As long as the customers will pay it, prospective investors can play it.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.