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Elon Musk stands his ground on EV adoption, but admits threat of Chinese competition

By Steve Gelsi

The Tesla chief executive says China is a threat across the auto sector, and not just in electric vehicles

Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk insisted that electric-vehicle adoption is continuing "quite fast," but admitted that competition from China in EVs and the wider auto sector remains on his radar.

In addition to factors influencing Tesla's (TSLA) business, the billionaire also spoke about artificial intelligence, opportunities in India and other topics in an interview with Norges Bank Chief Executive Nicolai Tangen published Monday on X, the Musk-owned social-media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Baird analyst Ben Kallo reiterated an outperform rating and a $280 target price on Tesla stock in a research note released after Musk's comments. Musk stuck to his expectation that all vehicles will be electric in a matter of time, Kallo noted.

Although players such as Ford Motor Co. (F) have pared back their electric-vehicle plans and wider market sentiment has turned against EVs in the last several months, Musk said EV adoption is "going quite fast actually."

Competition from Chinese automakers remains fordable across the auto business, not just in the EV space but for all cars, Musk said.

Also read: EV maker Mullen is making big cost cuts, moving away from the consumer market

Turning to artificial intelligence, Musk said the need for high-voltage transformers is a primary obstacle to the sector's growth and that the current situation could continue for up to three years.

Tesla continues to have a competitive advantage in its ability to collect data, as well as in it current database of real-world driving data, Kallo wrote in his note.

India could be the next area where Tesla expands its manufacturing footprint, the analyst added, after Musk said it would be a natural progression for the carmaker to offer EVs in India since it's the most populous country in the world.

Musk also touched on objectives for his space company Space X, saying the first Starship spacecraft may land on Mars in about five years. He added that Space X would need about 10,000 flights landing on Mars to build a self-sustaining city - and think's it's possible to get that done within 20 years.

Musk did not discsuss Tesla's robotaxis or its next-generation vehicles in the interview, Kallo noted, despite a Reuters article last week saying that Tesla would discontinue plans for a lower-cost EV. Musk disputed the Reuters article last week, tweeting that the publication was "lying."

-Steve Gelsi

This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


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04-08-24 1555ET

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