Tesla Motors rises to record high image

Tesla Motors Inc. rose to a record high after a Stifel Nicolaus & Co. report claimed the electric carmaker’s increasing production output could allow the company increase its value to $400 a share. That’s even before starting to make the announced lower-priced model.

Tesla rose 5.3% at the beginning of September to $284.12, the highest closing price since June 2010 when it got an initial public offering. The stock had previously closed to a record also on August 29.

James Albertine, equity analyst with Stifel, wrote in a note to investors on September 1 that the company “appears to have carved out a defensible niche in the global market for luxury electric vehicles, and based on our recent tour of the Fremont, CA, facility, a sizable head start with respect to production. [Tesla] is on track (if not ahead of plan) to achieving a 1,000 unit per week production rate by year-end 2014.”

Albertine then upgraded his rating on Tesla to buy from hold with a target price of $400. The Tesla shares have been rapidly growing lately, up 89% this year, while the company has also increased its sales of premium Model S sedans, priced around $71,000, entering China, with plans of starting deliveries in Japan as well. The youngest publicly traded U.S. automaker plans to add the Model X electric sport-utility vehicle in 2015 and the Model 3, which is a smaller, more affordable premium sedan by 2017.

By Gabriela Florea