Could autonomous vehicles send the Tesla share price soaring past US$300?

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk first told the world of his plans to develop self-driving robotaxis back in 2016.

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The Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) share price has been on fire this year.

Since the opening bell on 3 January, shares in the global electric vehicle and battery manufacturer have gained a whopping 137%.

Over the past month's trading alone the Tesla share price has rocketed an astounding 54%. Shares closed yesterday trading for US$255.90 apiece.

And the tech company's charge higher may have some room to run, perhaps leaping to US$305, or beyond.

What could send the Tesla share price above US$300?

RBC has taken a decidedly bullish turn on the Tesla stock.

The broker increased its target for the Tesla share price from US$212 to US$305, reflecting a 19% potential upside from current prices.

RBC's enthusiasm stems from the massive potential it sees from Tesla's foray into robotaxis, self-driven by the company's autonomous vehicle technology.

According to RBC (courtesy of The Australian Financial Review):

Robotaxi could be 70% of Tesla's value. We believe robotaxis (and autonomous vehicles in general) could potentially transform society more than anything else in our lifetimes. They could save millions of lives and trillions of hours.

We believe this fact alone should motivate regulators to support their development as we anticipate private cars being banned in many cities around the globe.

What's up with robotaxis anyway?

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk first told the world of his plans to develop self-driving robotaxis back in 2016, when the Tesla share price was trading in the US$10 to US$17 range.

The plan is still under development. But last month Musk said the autonomous vehicles could be ready within the year, perhaps explaining the 54% surge in Tesla shares over the month.

The idea is exciting investors because it could offer a huge boost to Tesla's revenue.

How?

Well, the world's richest man envisions an army of Tesla owners unleashing their idle autonomous Teslas to roam the roads as robotaxis as part of a ride-hailing network.

And that would earn money for both the car's owner as well as Tesla.

How much?

While that remains to be seen, the global ride-hailing business is forecast to continue growing strongly.

And the Tesla share price could well benefit from Musk's suggestions that his company could split the revenue with the vehicles' owners 50/50. That would see Tesla not only earn revenue on the sale of its EVs but a continuing revenue stream beyond that from its robotaxi partners.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Tesla. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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