Tesla’s high-flying stock passed the $1,000 mark for the first time Wednesday morning, a milestone for the electric carmaker founded by Elon Musk. The barrier was broken after a one-two punch of big news, with a star analyst providing another a bullish outlook on company and Musk, the Tesla CEO, ordering “volume production” of the Tesla Semi, a conceptual heavy-duty truck that has been in the prototype stage for 2.5 years.
The company is currently valued at $185 billion, more than twice the market cap of Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers (General Motors, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler) combined.
Tesla shares have been on a strong rally for three months, despite the coronavirus’ lingering effect on the broader auto industry. Wednesday’s spike was apparently driven by a leaked internal email in which Musk told Tesla employees to prioritize the production of Tesla Semi.
“It’s time to go all out and bring the Tesla Semi to volume production,” Musk said in the memo, obtained by CNBC. “It’s been in limited production so far, which has allowed us to improve many aspects of the design.” He added that the manufacturing of Semi’s battery and powertrain would take place at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory, with the rest of the work distributed to facilities in other states.
Tesla has yet to specify a time frame of Semi’s actual delivery. But the progress was an exciting enough update on the electric truck, which was first unveiled in November 2017. Plans for mass production and delivery have since been delayed multiple times. In April, Tesla said production wouldn’t start until next year.
If successful, the Semi truck will open up a new market for Tesla: the lucrative commercial vehicle sector, which is already eyed by several Tesla challengers, including GM, Ford and the electric truck startup, Nikola.
On Wednesday morning, Wedbush’s Daniel Ives, a star Wall Street analyst covering the electric vehicle sector, raised the price target for Tesla shares from $800 to $1,000 and a bull case outlook from $1,350 to $1,500. He maintained a neutral rating for the stock.