California’s ban on gas car sales is just under a decade and a half away, but most automakers still have a ways to go in the transition to electric vehicles. With Tesla remaining the industry’s current pace-setter, some analysts think the Elon Musk-led company could be poised to win big in the state if others don’t act fast.
Above: Elon Musk at the Colorado Air Force Academy earlier this year. Photo: Trevor Cokley / U.S. Air Force
CNBC’s Jim Cramer told fellow anchors on a segment of Squawk on the Street that he expects Musk to “own” California after 2035 if the state’s new gas vehicle sales ban takes effect. And with Tesla’s current positioning against legacy automakers that are just starting to release EVs, the idea certainly isn’t out of the question.
Cramer noted Ford CEO Jim Farley, who has been guiding the company toward a business model emphasizing EVs, with less reliance on the dealership model. Additionally, Cramer and Ford’s speed in getting the electric F-150 Lightning out to customers in California could determine how competitive the automaker becomes in a decade, especially with Tesla’s current positioning in the state.
Above: Elon Musk to ‘own' California after the 2035 gas car ban. Video: CNBC / YouTube
“It will be a state of Teslas, unless Jim Farley can get that F-150 Lightning out,” said Farley on the show. “Right now, although he thinks he can do a 600,000 run rate by the end of next year, this guy’s gonna own California given this new mission.”
Cramer also added that California is one of the largest auto markets in the world, and Tesla’s founding in the state appears properly strategic at this point. Additionally, Tesla’s Fremont factory will remain operational even with the addition of new Gigafactories, and it currently produces the majority of the automaker’s vehicles.
The quotes came after a quick appearance from Baron Capital Head Ron Baron, who predicts that Tesla would become the world’s largest company — a prediction stated by Tesla CEO Elon Musk at this year’s annual stockholder’s meeting. Baron also stated that one of Musk’s other companies will likely follow Tesla into the world’s spotlight, just another decade down the road.
“Tesla is going to be the largest company in the world, and then ten years after that, it’ll be challenged by SpaceX,” said Baron.
Tesla is polarizing for many investors, as an array of Wall Street analysts fall under both the bullish and bearish categories. As it floats around a trillion dollar market cap, however, it’s hard for even the most bullish to deny the company’s ambitions as it expands its production with new factories around the world.
Another huge auto market is in China, where Tesla has also shown its worth. After a capacity upgrade in July and August, the automaker’s Gigafactory Shanghai has been able to produce almost as much as it delivers. As a result, Tesla’s wait times dropped in China in recent weeks, thought by some to be a show of increasing supply without affecting demand.
In any case, Tesla is well-poised for the EV revolution, having been the one to stir it on. And while legacy automakers such as Ford have a wider factory reach going in, Tesla has new Gigafactories in Germany and Texas, and Musk says the company could announce a new location by the end of the year.