As the electric vehicle race has heated up, investors have been waiting anxiously for self-driving technology to progress. Elon Musk has long had his eye on this this area of automotive innovation. He initially predicted that the full self-driving (FSD) beta would be available before the end of 2020. At the end of that year, he tweeted that the beta would be “extended to Canada very soon.” Things didn’t exactly go according to plan.
While Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) history with missing deadlines is well documented, it hasn’t stopped the company’s progress. Now, investors waiting for the Canadian FSD launch may be in luck. Earlier this week, Must tweeted an update that, if accurate, will could boost Tesla stock significantly.
What’s Happening With Tesla Stock
On Jan. 16, Musk responded to the 2020 Twitter thread. When a Canada-based user asked when the FSD beta would be rolled out in Canada, Musk tweeted the following:
We will start rolling out FSD beta in Canada cautiously in next 2 to 4 weeks
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2022
It’s easy to question how serious Musk is. After all, he’s promised the FSD rollout in Canada already and it hasn’t happened. The fact that he laid out a specific timeline in this tweet, though, indicates that this time may be different.
This comes at a time when Tesla stock could certainly use a boost. Shares began to decline this morning and closed down 3.3%. Declines for the week come in at 10%. It’s safe to say that Tesla’s 2022 isn’t off to a great start.
Why It Matters
Much of the decline that Tesla stock has experienced so far can be chalked up to negative market momentum. That doesn’t change the fact, though, that the company needs a catalyst to help it regain momentum. Some concrete progress on the self-driving front could be exactly what it needs.
If the Canada rollout does indeed happen, it would be opportune for more than one reason. Tesla has recently received some negative press following an update that a driver in a 2019 crash will face felony charges. Why does this matter? Tesla’s Autopilot mode was in use at the time.
While the driver has been charged for the crime, instances like this don’t do much to inspire confidence in hands-off automotive technology. It could have been an isolated incident, but both the automotive and financial communities would like feel better if they saw some reassuring progress from the company associated with this sad story.
Canada’s EV market may not be as large as that of the U.S., but it is growing. The company saw 2021 sales of the Tesla Model Y increase by 137% year over year. Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y were among the country’s best-selling EVs. What better way to get more consumers interested in buying your cars than by introducing a beta test close to home that promises to revolutionize driving?
If Musk does succeed in rolling out the FSD beta in Canada within the coming weeks, it will generate the type of momentum that will send Tesla stock shooting up. In the months following, the boost in sales will help it stay elevated.
What It Means for Tesla
As is often the case, Musk is unpredictable. EV aficionados have been disappointed by his lofty promises before. Every time Tesla has missed a deadline, though, it has come back just as strong. Recent drone footage suggests that the company is making progress on the Model Y at Giga Austin, though it hasn’t been confirmed.
Rolling out the FSD beta in Canada would be a strategic move, exactly the type Musk loves. This development is worth watching, regardless of when the rollout happens. When it does, Tesla stock will react well.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.