Tesla Analyst Calls Model X Test Drive 'Incredible'

According to a recent industrial flash note by Dougherty & Company LLC's Andrea James, Tesla Motors Inc TSLA's Model X may be everything its publicized to be.

"In general, I think the Model X handles great," James stated, "which means that car people will love the car and that auto journalists will write good reviews about it. Demand is not going to be a problem. Several times, I had the thought, ‘They think of everything!'"

The Test Driver

James began by explaining that her perspective, while different from the typical Tesla sell-side analyst, is still of value.

"There are two key differences between myself […] and the typical Tesla buy-side investor who reads my research reports. For one, I'm a woman. And two, given the choice between driving myself anywhere and taking an Uber, I choose Uber. Every time."

"I don't speak about driving in terms of torque or acceleration or suspension or turning radius, or any metrics that car guys talk about […] Personally? I don't really care how fast it goes from zero to sixty. I care most that the car is safe, because I'm going to put my flesh and blood kid inside," James elaborated.

"As Model X pops up in key markets for test drivers, there may be some value add in describing my unique experience."

Related Link: The Autonomous Car Market Is A $270 Billion Opportunity For Apple, Tesla And Google

The Test Drive

James had the opportunity to test drive the Model X last week in Seattle during Tesla's two-month city tour, and stated that safety and utility were the determining factors for her taking advantage of the opportunity.

Regarding safety, James stated, "NHTSA has not yet issued its rating on the X, but Tesla tells us that in its own safety tests, they couldn't flip the car."

"I also care that the car has lots of room for people, kids, and all our stuff, and that we can hitch our skis and snowboards onto the back and head up to the mountains for a snow day. The seven-seat configuration still leaves plenty of room for groceries and gear," she said in regards to the vehicle's utility.

Broadly speaking, James highlighted four observations from her test drive:

  • The Fun Factor: "The Model X handles like it's a small, nimble vehicle, instead of a spacious SUV."
  • "Delightful" Windshield: "The helicopter-cockpit-style windshield and rear sun roofs make the car feel spacious and bright, no matter where you're sitting. The panoramic view is awesome. Pictures and words don't do it justice."
  • The Buying Experience "Is A Breath Of Fresh Air": "Tesla's direct sales model is not new, but the benefit is worth repeating. The typical car-buying experience is awkward and stressful. When I test-drove the Model X, I wasn't afraid to gush about things I liked or things that impressed me. In a typical dealer scenario, I'd have to pretend to be nonchalant, for fear that if the dealer knew I loved what he's selling, he'd screw me on the price."
  • Auto-Pilot: "And then there's auto-pilot. Wow. This feature should be mandatory for drivers like myself. My diverse and ample skill set, ahem, does not include driving. I'm a near-sighted nerd, have bad depth perception, and no sense of direction."

In describing the auto-pilot features in depth, James gushed about every turn and maneuver, summarizing, "Model X drove more competently and confidently than I ever do. In fact, I felt like I was receiving driving lessons. The car drove the speed limits, switched lanes smoothly, and kept a safe driving distance from the car in front. Amazing. I literally could not have done better."

At the time of this writing, Tesla was trading at $201.54 shortly after the market open.

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Price Target
Posted In: Analyst ColorMarketsAnalyst RatingsTechTrading IdeasAndrea Jamesauto-pilotAutonomous Carsautonomous vehiclesDougherty & Companydriverless carsModel Xself-driving cars
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!