One thing is the logistical issues in the global car supply chain, but there are two other growing risk sources for Tesla. So far, Tesla has been immune to the cost-of-living crisis caused by the galloping energy crisis which has led Tesla to significantly outperform the global consumer discretionary sector (see chart below). However, with elevated electricity prices and high inflation due to high energy and food prices, the demand is coming down sharply for many consumer companies hitting Apple, Nike, and H&M recently. This is probably the biggest risk to Tesla’s outlook which is still very optimistic with analysts expecting 42% revenue growth in 2023, something we find hard to be achievable given the development in electricity prices and disposable income.
In addition there are two hard physical constraints on Tesla’s growth trajectory. The first one is the price of lithium which remains elevated at very high levels putting pressure on battery prices and thus the price on electric vehicles. Given the adoption curve expected on EVs this market could remain very tight for years. Another constraint is the physical electricity grid which needs a massive upgrade to handle all the new EVs and air-to-water heat pumps. Both of these physical constraints are out of Tesla’s control and if they are not solved quickly the 50% annualized growth target may quickly turn out to be lofty vision with no connection to the real world.