NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. rose Friday after an analyst upgraded the stock, saying the electric car maker "has taken a very large step ahead of the competition."

THE SPARK: Deutsche Bank analyst Dan Galves raised his rating to "Buy" from "Hold" and boosted his price target to $160 per share from $50. He said he thinks the stock could more than double in three or four years and praised the design of Tesla's cars.

"Several unbiased third parties (are) concluding that Tesla's first mass-produced vehicle is the best car they've ever tested," Galves said. "In the eyes of many consumers and critics, they've designed a superior car by taking advantage of the architectural attributes of an E-Vehicle (such as battery placement underneath the floor of the vehicle), and using this to their advantage (i.e. better handling, quietness, storage, interior volume)."

Galves wrote that Tesla has mostly eliminated problems with the range of its cars and is bringing down the costs of its batteries. He said the company has a head start on electric vehicle technology and said those vehicles should enjoy strong growth for years.

THE BIG PICTURE: Tesla, of Palo Alto, Calif., has experienced some acclaim for its Model S, which went on sale last summer. It plans to launch its second vehicle, the Model X SUV, in 2014. The company reported its first quarterly profit in May, but it expects to take a loss for the second quarter.

In the first quarter Tesla said it delivered 4,900 Model S cars, more than it initially expected.

SHARE ACTION: Tesla Motors shares rose $5.11, or 4.1 percent, to $129.18 in afternoon trading. The shares have more than tripled in value since the end of March and they reached an all-time high of $133.26 on July 15.

 

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