Analyst says Tesla Model 3 launch could be as big as 2007 iPhone introduction

Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst who had been calling for an HD TV set from Apple for years before eventually giving up on that pipe dream, said today that the upcoming release of Tesla’s Model 3 sedan would be as big a launch as the 2007 introduction of the original iPhone.

In a blog post on the Loup Ventures website, Munster writes that the combination of the Model 3’s value and technology has the potential to change the world and accelerate the adoption of electric and autonomous vehicles in the next decade.

“We believe we will eventually look back at the launch of the Model 3 and compare it to the iPhone, which proved to be the catalyst for the shift to mobile computing,” he wrote.

The launch of the vehicle is viewed as Tesla’s make or break moment because Model 3 is the company’s first truly mass-market electric car priced at the sweet spot of $35,000 before federal and state tax incentives.

According to Elon Musk, Tesla is poised to ship about thirty units of the Model 3 sedans on July 28 and ramp up production to 20,000 Model 3 units per month by December of this year.

Chart via Bloomberg

Imagining that Tesla could produce an estimated 2.5 million cars by 2025 may seem hard to believe given it only delivered about 100,000 cars in the past year. But as Munster says, car hardware does not scale as easy as software, but it can scale.

“Looking back at the iPhone in 2007 it was a stretch to envision the company producing 50 million phones a year, but in 2015, the company sold 232 million units,” he wrote. Owning a Model 3 is only thirteen percent more expensive than owning a Toyota Camry over a five-year period, estimated the analyst.

It’s important to note that this figure assumes no state or federal tax credits for electric vehicles as the analyst expect those incentives to end before December 2020.

Loup Ventures is a VC fund focused on augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics which Munster founded following his exit from investment firm Piper Jaffray in December of last year, putting an end to Munster’s 21-year career as Piper’s senior Apple analyst.