Skip to main content

Tesla (TSLA)  has chosen a more difficult path than Apple (AAPL) when it comes to autonomous cars, and it will pay off in the long run. 

Tesla has struggled to create a profitable auto manufacturer since its inception in 2003 and is still working hard to produce a fully autonomous vehicle in the next two years. Meanwhile, Apple announced last week that rather than manufacturing an Apple-branded car, it will simply build the autonomous technology that will power cars made by other companies.

Apple is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL? Learn more now.

This was the right decision for Apple because creating the technology is the best way to use its strengths, including optics and machine learning, Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster said. However, while Apple seems to be getting off easy with this option, Tesla will be seen as the ultimate winner when it comes to autonomous cars, he said.

"Now with Apple out, Tesla is in a good position because it will be hard for it to be outdone by anyone in the space," he noted.

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk may miss his original target to get an autonomous Tesla-branded vehicle to market in two years, Munster said he is as optimistic as ever that Tesla will usher in a new paradigm in the transportation sector. Demand for the Model 3 has been encouraging despite cancellations, he noted. Musk said that he sees Model 3 demand reaching more than 700,000 units per year.

More of What's Trending on TheStreet:

  • Costco's Dramatic Crash Might End Up Yielding a Huge Payoff
  • Joel Osteen Has Built a Business Empire
  • Under Armour's Move Into Sneaker Business Has Been a Disaster, Jim Cramer Says
  • Buying a Tesla Could Soon Become Ridiculously More Expensive
  • Stocks Hold Onto Gains as Trump Talks Tax Reform

Tesla bulls have long said that the Model 3 will be what makes the company worth investing in because the affordable $35,000 vehicle is designed to help electric cars go mainstream. However, bears point out the company's high cash burn and the number of times the company has missed delivery targets. Tesla seems to over-promise and under-deliver. For example, Tesla shipped 76,230 cars to customers in 2016, widely missing its full-year forecast of 80,000 to 90,000 vehicles.

Based on its history and what it's trying to do, Tesla will most likely miss a ramp-up target in the next year and people will be disappointed, but the company remains in a good position for the long term, Munster said. What does this mean for Tesla's stock? The electric car company's stock will most likely see sharp rises and falls over the next year, but it should see good appreciation in the next five years based on what it's trying to accomplish, Munster said. 

Shares of Tesla were trading up 1.46% to $352.43 in mid-afternoon trading on Wednesday. 

More of What's Trending on TheStreet:

Editors' pick: Originally published Aug. 30.