Tesla made history on Monday, with a little help from its shareholders, as the electric carmaker’s stock price topped $500 a share for the first time.
In midday trading, Tesla shares topped $519 as investors continued to throw more weight behind the company and its prospects for future growth and success. Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch added to the enthusiasm Monday as he raised his price target on Tesla’s stock to $612 a share from $385.
Rusch said there are several factors working in Tesla’s favor right now, including an approach to the electric car market that its rivals haven’t been able to match.
“(Tesla’s) risk tolerance, ability to implement learnings from past errors, and larger ambition than peers are beginning to pose an existential threat to transportation companies that are unable or unwilling to innovate at a faster pace,” Rusch said, in a research report. “We believe Tesla has key advantages in powertrain design, battery technology, ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) fleet size, roadmap to energy independence offerings, and consumer enthusiasm.”
To put Tesla’s $500-a-share milestone in some perspective, the company’s share price reached the $400 mark for the first time just on Dec. 20, and its shares have climbed 51% over the last year.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk did his part to stoke excitement for his company when he said that Teslas will soon be able to “talk” to pedestrians. Musk did this via his favorite method of telling the public about what’s going on with Tesla, a Twitter tweet.
“Teslas will soon talk to people if you want,” Musk tweeted. “This is real.”
To prove his point, Musk included a video of two people driving a Tesla Model 3, with the car’s speaker playing the words, “Well don’t just stand there staring. Hop in.”
Musk didn’t say if Tesla would include the new speaking feature in its next software update, and the company didn’t immediately return a request for comment on the matter. However, the company has already begun adding external speakers to its cars in order to comply with federal safety regulations set to take effect later this year.