Wall Street calls Tesla's autonomous plan 'half-baked,' doubts it can beat Lyft, Nvidia and Google

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk touted robotaxis by 2020 on Tesla autonomy investor day, and Wall Street was not impressed.

At the company event on Monday, Musk was all too confident about carrying out autonomous robotaxis next year, even predicting that Tesla will be making cars with no steering wheels or pedals by 2021. However, analysts believe the technology is still far from ready and it puts Tesla at a risky position to compete with leaders in ride-hailing and software industries.

“We see a significant amount of technology and execution risk in the shift in strategy from competing in just electrification to Tesla also beating Nvidia in hardware, Google in software, and building a better ride-hailing service than current ride hailing leaders,” Cowen’s analyst Jeffrey Osborne said in a note on Tuesday.

“The Tesla Network robotaxi plans seemed half baked, with the company appearing to either not have answers to or not even considered pretty basic question on the pricing, insurance liability, or regulatory and legal requirements,” Osborne added.

The event came two days before Tesla reports first-quarter earnings. Shares of Tesla are down more than 1% in premarket trading on Tuesday. The stock has fallen 21% year to date amid the company’s legal woes, disappointing deliveries and slowing demand.

Here’s what else analysts are saying about Tesla’s Autonomy Investor Day:

“Tesla’s autonomy investor presentations conveyed impressive technological leadership but, in our view, left big questions around time-to-market and did not change our views on the impediments to removing the human driver in a commercial service at scale. Attention returns to a challenging 1Q….More data to back up safetyclaims is needed….We still think removingthe safety driver will take manyyears (if not decades) to achieveat high scale.

“We are concurrently skeptical and hopeful about TSLA’s claims. If TSLA executes to plan, implications across semis/components are meaningful: positive for analog/mixed signal vendors, mixed for digital vendors, negative for LiDAR vendors…. Investors should recognize that, if the company achieves its autonomous driving goals, combining this with its already-achieved EV technology conspire to establish a ride hailing service that could be quite financially compelling to both the car owner and the rider.”

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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