By Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Tesla Inc’s stock jumped above $1,000 a share on Wednesday after Chief Executive Elon Musk told his staff it was time to bring the Tesla Semi commercial truck to “volume production.”
Musk, in an email seen by Reuters on Wednesday, did not specify a time frame for ramping up production of the Semi. Musk on Wednesday tweeted “Yes” to a question on Twitter about whether the report of the leaked Semi truck production email was accurate.
Tesla’s shares rose about 6% to hit $1,000 on Wednesday after Reuters reported Musk’s email, making the Silicon Valley company the second-most valuable automaker in the world, behind Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp . Tesla’s share surge could position Musk for another payout from a stock compensation plan tied to the company’s market capitalization.
The stock also got a boost from a bullish call by Wedbush, which lifted its target price for the automaker to $1,000 and said Tesla could have “more room to run.”
Investors also are anticipating Musk will unveil new “million-mile” battery technology that could deliver longer life, lower costs and better range for future Tesla vehicles.
“Production of the battery and powertrain will take place at Giga Nevada,” Musk wrote. Most of the other work will probably take place in other states, he wrote, without stating where.
Musk has said Tesla is scouting other U.S. states for a site to build a new factory, hinting that Texas could be a candidate. Oklahoma and other states are campaigning for the investment.
When Musk unveiled the prototype of the futuristic, battery-powered Semi in 2017, he said the Class 8 truck would go into production by 2019. More recently, he said the Semi would go into volume production by 2021.
Musk’s Tuesday message coincides with a surge in the share price of rival clean truck maker Nikola Corp.
Nikola, an electric and fuel cell truck startup, earlier this month began trading on the NASDAQ after it merged with special purpose acquisition company VectoIQ.
Shares in Nikola have more than doubled in price over the past week as the company’s CEO has used Twitter and interviews to promote plans to launch an electric pickup truck to Tesla’s forthcoming Cybertruck.
Nikola and CNH Industrial’s IVECO commercial truck operation last year formed a joint venture to build a battery electric and fuel cell truck line called the Nikola Tre. IVECO has said orders are strong for the electric version of the truck, due out next year.
Nikola on Wednesday said it had hired a former Tesla executive, Mark Duchesne, to lead its manufacturing and a former Caterpillar <CAT.N> executive, Pablo Koziner, to head its hydrogen fueling and battery recharging business.
(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Writing by Josephine Mason in LONDON; Editing by Joe White, Bernadette Baum and Steve Orlofsky)