The people who get crazy-wealthy in the stock market tend to be long-term thinkers, and hedge fund manager Ron Baron (estimated net worth $2.1 billion) thinks that Tesla could be the next big thing, saying that “all of us will likely be Tesla customers in 25 years.”

Baron, a self-made billionaire whose investment firm Baron Capital Group, is considered to be one of the more conservative investors on the Street. But one area he isn’t conservative is his enthusiasm electric cars, telling investors in his quarterly report that his firm is a “fan” of Elon Musk and Tesla Motors. In a letter to shareholders, Baron says Tesla has a “built-to-last” quality about it that boosts near and far-term prospects for the electric automaker.

While they may only make a 1 million cars per year within the next decade, farther out the automaker could end up rivaling GM or Toyota in its size as EVs grow in popularity. Citing the early days of the auto industry in a CNBC interview as an example of why one technology become so predominant (the internal combustion engine), Baron says that the time is ripe for the switch to be made to cheaper electricity propulsion. Right now though, automakers, unions, and car dealers are all standing in the way of EVs, mostly because it could cut into the profit margins, jobs, and service these entities are used to.

But Baron thinks along the same lines that I do; ten years down the road, Tesla owners could just spend a few thousand dollars on a new battery pack, and keep driving their old EV; no need to buy a whole new car, right? Elon Musk is building a car company with the potential to last long term, and come to dominate an emerging market where most conventional automakers are scared to tread.

I can tell you right now, I look forward to the day I get to be a Tesla owner, and if Baron is right, then the current stock price may seem like an absolute bargain ten years down the road. This could be the right time to invest in Tesla, at least by one billionaire’s account, and Baron isn’t alone on his bullish outlook for this new breed of automaker.

Image: Christopher DeMorro/GAS2