Another day, another positive electric-car adoption rate forecast


2017 Tesla Model S

2017 Tesla Model S

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If only success could be guaranteed by positive predictions.

While the fossil-fuel industry is notably skeptical of the long-term prospects of electric cars, a growing number of studies and forecasts predict the adoption rate will grow rapidly in the coming decades.

Electric cars still face numerous challenges, but analyses from a variety of sources seem to think those challenges will be overcome relatively soon.

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The latest to make a positive forecast is Sanford C. Bernstein, which recently declared that it is bullish on electric cars in a note to investors, according to StreetInsider.com.

Bernstein predicts electric cars will make up 40 percent of the auto market in 20 years, and 50 percent or more by 2050.

The firm believes electric cars constitute a major upheaval in the auto industry, and notes that consumer-technology disruption often occurs more quickly than first anticipated.

2017 Tesla Model X

2017 Tesla Model X

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It also suggests Tesla is more or less the source of that disruption.

Bernstein—which is starting coverage of Tesla for the first time—compared the automaker to Apple, Netflix, and Amazon.

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It expects Tesla's popularization of electric cars to be equivalent in magnitude to the changes those companies instigated in their respective industries.

When it comes to doing business in a future where electric cars are more popular, Bernstein believes Tesla has three major advantages over established automakers.

2017 Tesla Model S

2017 Tesla Model S

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These are the potential for lower battery costs, "unparalleled" consumer awareness, and vertical integration, which could help further lower costs and improve Tesla's brand image.

However, Bernstein is concerned about Tesla's gross margins as capital expenditures increase in the ramp-up of Model 3 production.

It also worries about the customer experience, "which we believe is not strong today."

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Last month, Tesla's market value rose to rival that of the Detroit Three U.S. automakers.

But the company still faces skepticism about its ability to turn profitable, which it hasn't been in more than 12 years with the exception of two single quarters.

To do that, the company must ramp up from the 80,000 cars it delivered last year to the goal of 500,000 annually set by CEO Elon Musk to be reached next year.

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