Alexander Haissl, an autos analyst at Berenberg, told clients Friday that the City of Chicago’s tapping of Elon Musk’s The Boring Company to build a high-speed link between downtown and O’Hare Airport solidifies the venture as more than just a pipe dream.
“Entirely dismissed as a sideshow hobby of Elon Musk, The Boring Company is proving itself capable of evolving into a viable and potentially exceptionally profitable infrastructure business,” Haissl said in a note seen by Business Insider, adding that the deal “in a single step, provided the foundation and legitimacy that can turn The Boring Company into a highly valuable asset.”
The Boring Company claims it can build the 18-mile route for “less than $1 billion,” the Chicago Tribune reported, thanks to a smaller tunnel size than traditional subways. The 16-passenger vehicles could shorten the 40 minute El-train journey to just 12 minutes, the company says.
In finding a valuation for the Boring Company — despite it having no working projects completed and in service — Haissl compares the project to the famous Channel Tunnel project between England and France.
“On conservative assumptions, and taking into account similar businesses like Getlink (formerly Eurotunnel), we estimate the potential enterprise value could be as high as USD $16 billion,” he said. “With Tesla set to become a key supplier to The Boring Company, it will likely mean an early opportunity to take a stake in the business, potentially without cash consideration.”
It won't be easy to get there, though. Experts interviewed by The Verge last week were skeptical of the proposed costs — as low as one-tenth the price of building Paris' subway. What's more, the low-occupancy vehicles, even when fully loaded, can carry less than half of what a subway train can hold.
But Haissl — just like in his $500 price target for Tesla's stock, a 40% upside to Monday's prices — remains optimistic.