Could Tesla’s value eventually be 20 times what it is right now? One investor thinks so.
Speaking to CNBC in an interview on Tuesday, billionaire investor Ron Baron, whose company Baron Capital Management owns a significant number of Tesla (TSLA) shares, believes that the company’s market cap could eventually exceed $700 billion. The predicted value comes from his belief that Tesla could deliver returns of $6 billion to $7 billion over a 10-to-20-year period.
Baron added that his bullishness on Tesla stock is due in no small part to the company’s position in the electric-car market. Indeed, he argues that no company—not even Apple (AAPL), which is rumored to be working on a Tesla competitor—can catch up to the company.
“The competition is not anywhere. They could have caught him four or five years ago, but they can’t catch him now,”Baron said of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “He’s too far ahead.”
Bloomberg earlier reported on Baron’s comments.
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Tesla achieving a valuation of more than $700 billion would be a feat of epic proportion. The company is currently valued at $36.7 billion and has watched its share price fall 7 % in the last year. Meanwhile, it recently sold $1.4 billion in stock to fund a massive expansion to its business to accommodate demand for its upcoming, cheaper Model 3 sedan.
Along the way, Tesla continues to post quarterly losses and in China, where it has long argued it could enjoy massive growth, it’s been experiencing trouble attracting customers.
The Model 3 is widely viewed among analysts and critics, alike, as the make-or-break vehicle for Tesla. The car is substantially cheaper than the Model S and Model X electric vehicles it already offers, helping it to attract a mainstream consumer base.
At least so far, things are looking up on the Model 3, with demand for the car exceeding all expectations the company had. That has breathed new life into its stock and given Musk some hope that when the car hits the road next year, it’ll be as big as he has argued it could be.
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Tesla also appears to be ahead of an important curve. The electric-vehicle market might be nascent now, but it is expected to explode in the coming years. A slew of companies, including traditional carmakers, are already competing in the market, and new entrants, like Apple, are reportedly eyeing electric cars.
Whether those competitors will actually hurt Tesla, however, remains to be seen.
For his part, Baron’s bullish views on Tesla might have something (or everything) to do with his company’s position in the carmaker. Not even Musk, who is himself bullish on Tesla’s future, will be so bold as to say that the company will grow that big.
Ultimately, Tesla’s ability to reach such heights will come down to just how badly customers want electric vehicles and well it does at fending off competitors. In other words, let’s wait and see.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.