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Tesla Just Became the First US Car Company Valued at $100 Billion

This new valuation officially makes it the first US automaker worth more than $100 billion.

Elon Musk Courtesy of Shutterstock

Despite all odds, Tesla’s ascension continues with the shattering of another record. On Wednesday, the electric automaker’s stock prices surged so high that it reached a valuation of $100 billion—making it the first publicly traded U.S. carmaker to surpass that high mark.

This news means Tesla is officially worth more than General Motors and Ford combined—despite both auto giants’ century-long head start on Elon Musk’s industry disruptor, according to Reuters. Share prices have more than doubled over the last three months and the trend continued when their value increased by 8.1 percent to $591.78 on late Wednesday morning. Less than a month ago, the same shares were going for $420 apiece.

Such a rapid rise can be attributed “to the inflection in electric vehicle demand globally,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in an email to Reuters. “The skeptics have been proven wrong, and the $100 billion market cap is sending the bears into hibernation mode.” Expanded production in China certainly hasn’t hurt things.

Though other manufacturers are beginning to introduce a more robust selection of electric-car options––like Ford and its forthcoming line of electric Mustangs––they have been slow to respond to increased customer interest. Whatever their reasoning, Tesla was able to effectively capitalize on what was essentially a competitor-less category and is reaping rich rewards for it despite a recent series of embarrassing missteps.

Two years ago, Musk teased taking the entire venture private after acquiring funding but shied away after concerns about regulation and investors surfaced. It appears the company took the correct route.

A fringe benefit of its towering price tag is that it could make it easier to attract talent to its ranks. That’s becoming an increasing challenge for California-based companies as scores of them fiercely compete to recruit the best people from a relatively small geographic area.

Musk’s personal pocketbook won’t be shrinking any time soon either. The newly minted market value gets the entrepreneur significantly closer to a $346 million payout, a figure so unprecedented that it’s the subject of a current lawsuit. But given how lucky Musk has been lately, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him win that battle, too.

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