Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims the self-driving capability present in all Tesla electric vehicles (EVs) is an invaluable advantage that will help Tesla Inc. achieving $500 billion market capitalization by the next decade.
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) stock closed up 4.3 percent at $244.10 Thursday on Nasdaq, giving the company a market capitalization of $42.4 billion.
Musk also told investors and analysts in an investors' call Thursday that Teslas will be worth anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000 in the next three years because they can be upgraded over-the-air with new software-enabled features and functionality.
He said this capability will allow Teslas to appreciate in value, unlike nearly every other car on the market. Musk also said a full self-driving upgrade will increase the value of any Tesla by a half order of magnitude, or five times.
Musk again lavished praise on Tesla's self-driving strategy, telling investors autonomous driving will transform Tesla into a company with a $500 billion market cap. Tesla's current market cap stands at $42 billion.
He said that while Tesla drivers need to be hands-on today, this human oversight will become less necessary over time. Musk boasted that competitors such as GM's Cruise and Alphabet's Waymo can't catch up because Tesla has a fleet of connected cars on the road today. It also has a proprietary chip that enables its vision for self-driving cars, and is also developing its own self-driving computers.
Musk pointed out the hundreds of thousands of Teslas on the road today constantly absorb data and transmit this data to Tesla's servers. This continuous data loop helps Tesla improve and advance its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems.
Musk said Tesla expects to have one million EVs on the road in 2020 and be able to function as "robotaxis," confirming statements he made at Tesla's Autonomy Day last week. He said each car should be able to do 100 hours of work a week for its owner, making money as a robotaxi.
In the same investors' call, Tesla announced plans to raise a total of $2 billion ($650 million in equity and $1.35 billion in convertible bonds) it will use for general corporate purposes. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are underwriting Tesla's effort to raise the $2 billion.
Musk said Tesla would rather fund its business needs through cash flow, but believes it wiser to have a buffer in the event of a recession or weak global auto demand.
Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn told investors that nothing has changed in Tesla's outlook for Q2. He said Tesla still expects to deliver 90,000 to 100,000 EVs in Q2, and 360,000 to 400,000 EVs for the full year.
He admitted Tesla lost $702.1 million ($4.10 a share) on an unadjusted basis during Q1. The company's shares rose more than 4 percent Thursday following the announcement of the new funding solicitation. Its stock, however, is down more than 25 percent year to date.
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.