Tesla shares crack $1,500 as stunning run continues

Tesla Semi

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares continued in “ludicrous mode” Friday, crossing $1,500 for the first time.   

Ludicrous mode is a feature that enables the top-line Tesla P90D Model S sedan to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under three seconds, faster than some Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

The continued run in Tesla shares coincided with gains in all major indices on Friday. Tesla closed up 10.78% or $150.37, on the day. Tesla surpassed the market capitalization of Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) on July 1 and has not looked back. It topped the market cap of Germany’s Volkswagen AG as No. 2 in February.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that fully autonomous driving — so-called SAE Level 5 — is possible this year. It’s hard to say how much his latest pronouncement had to do with Friday’s gain.

“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year,” Musk said in a video played at the World AI conference in Shanghai. “I think there are no fundamental challenges remaining for level 5 autonomy.

“There are many small problems, and then there’s the challenge of solving all those small problems and then putting the whole system together, and just keep addressing the long tail of problems.”

Such predictions from Musk in the past have yet to come to fruition. 

Tesla’s use of “Autopilot” to describe its hands-free driving functions is criticized as an overreach. A pending lawsuit in Germany challenges the claim as misleading.

Tesla has yet to deliver on its battery-powered Semi truck, spotted last week in a couple of places hooked to a carrier filled with new Tesla passenger cars. Musk said in June it was time for the Semi to get into production. But he did not go beyond the latest projected date of 2021. The truck, unveiled to great fanfare in November 2017, has been delayed three times.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

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