"The biggest catalyst over the next couple of years will be the launch of the Apple car in 2024. But it will be like Porsche launch, you'll see Apple announce something in the 10,000 to 20,000 [unit] range and then look to crush numbers the way Porsche does. The technology in the car I expect to be amazing," said Irwin, a Tesla bear, on Yahoo Finance Live.
Irwin has a $150 price target on Tesla's stock, suggesting an 81% plunge from current levels.
Speculation on the Apple car has quieted down of late after reports of its existence surfaced in December 2020.
The tech giant reportedly could start production on its own electric vehicle as early as 2024, according to reports at the time. The car may be powered by a “breakthrough” monocell battery design that offers up greater range than traditional electric vehicle batteries.
Apple blog site MacRumors said recently the car remains in the works and may have autonomous driving features. That's despite Apple losing a key executive on its car team to Ford recently.
So far, Tesla's stock has been able to defy any concerns about an Apple car — the stock is up 90% over the last year.
But Irwin adds Tesla faces other near-term risks in the form of increased competition from traditional automakers going all in on electric.
General Motors (GM) told investors this week it plans to double sales by 2030 amid a wholesale shift to EVs. Ford is aggressively building out EV capacity to produce more trucks and crossovers that don't use gas.
Ford (F) plans to invest $30 billion in electric vehicles through 2025. The company expects 40% to 50% of its global vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030.
Says Irwin, "General Motors should not be underestimated. It's an American icon."
You could put Ford at the top of that list, too — much to the dismay of current category leader Tesla and its legion of fans.