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Tesla Delays, GM Ramps Up: What's The New Timeline For Autonomy?

Tesla Delays, GM Ramps Up: What's The New Timeline For Autonomy?
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This week’s auto news inspired conflicting tones on the timeline for autonomous vehicle deployment.

On the one hand, General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) hyped analysts with announcements of its accelerated test-fleet rollout. Both Citigroup and Deutsche Bank professed that GM would beat peers to market by deploying self-driving cars within quarters rather than previously estimated years.

GM said it will introduce two new all-electric vehicles within the next 18 months, "the first of at least 20 new EVs that the automaker will launch by 2023."

On the other hand, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), considered by many to be the industry leader in electric and autonomous vehicles, admitted delays in its Model 3 production.

"These results further validate our thesis that EV and autonomy will take longer than most think,” Loup Ventures managing partner Gene Munster wrote in a note.

The Comprehensive Thesis

Taken together, the reports suggest that either Tesla has conceded ground in AV innovation or Wall Street is overestimating GM.

Based on its recent downgrade of Tesla, Deutsche Bank bets on the former. But Munster said he would be shocked if the traditional automaker kept to its proposed schedule.

“I do believe that GM will have a role in autonomy, but if we’re measuring this in terms of quarters, I will take the over on that bet,” he told Benzinga this week, reiterating a belief in Tesla’s leadership.

His doubts for GM center on enduring legislative roadblocks, an unclear pace of testing and questions around scalability. The expected “limited” production could result in relatively expensive cars that risk profitability.

“There are still some very big questions that need to be solved around how they’re going to manufacture the cars, how they’re going to get the batteries, and how they’re going to produce them in a way that is priced right and could eventually be profitable,” Munster said.

The Expert Timeline

Based on his analysis, autonomous vehicles will hit the road no sooner than 2021, and they will roll out in small numbers. Loup Ventures projects 2 million in 2025, 14 million in 2030, and 49 million in 2035.

Related Links:

Excitement Around The Future Of GM May Already Be Priced Into The Stock

Autonomous Future: Munster's 2020 Vision Of The Road

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