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Why Did Tesla (TSLA) Stock Soar Today?

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Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) saw its stock price pop on Monday after the electric car maker announced that it opened two new charging stations in major U.S. metropolitan hubs. The company also received some positive news regarding a driver who was killed while using Tesla’s autopilot technology.

Supercharger Stations

Elon Musk’s company opened two new Supercharger stations—one in downtown Chicago and one Boston—that allow drivers to charge their electric Tesla vehicles. The move is part of a continued push to open more charging stations throughout the U.S. and the developed world.

Tesla owners most often charge their electric cars at home, overnight. But for drivers that are making more than daily commutes or local trips, charging stations become vital. There are currently 951 Tesla Supercharger Stations with 6,550 individual chargers around the world. Earlier this year, Tesla said it hopes to double the number of Superchargers by the end of 2017.

On top of these stations, Tesla has thousands of Destination Charging connectors, which are often located at hotels and restaurants and operate similar to home charging stations.

“Supercharger stations in urban areas will be installed in convenient locations, including supermarkets, shopping centers and downtown districts, so it’s easy for customers to charge their car in the time it takes to grocery shop or run errands. They also have the same pricing as our existing Superchargers, which is far cheaper than the cost of gasoline,” Tesla wrote in a company blog post.

The Chicago location, which is located near Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in the heart of the city, houses 10 Superchargers. Boston’s new station can charge eight vehicles at a time and is located at The Prudential Center.

The new metropolitan stations can deliver 72 kilowatts of power to each car, and it will take drivers roughly 45 to 50 minutes to fully charge their vehicles. Based on Tesla estimates, Supercharger stations charge $0.20 per kilowatt hour.

Charging in Massachusetts costs $0.22 per kWh, while Illinois charging costs $0.15 per kWh. Tesla owners receive 400 kWh of free Supercharger credit, which is enough to drive around 1,000 miles.

According to a map on Tesla's website, Supercharger stations in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and other cities are set to open before the end of the year.

Possible Legal News

In May 2016, Joshua Brown became the first person to officially die in a self-driving car accident when his Tesla Model S electric sedan ran into a semitrailer truck in Florida. Brown was an avid fan of the technology and even tweeted a video that showed how his Tesla autopilot feature helped him avoid a crash in April.

Now, a day before the National Transportation Safety Board is set to hold a hearing and vote on the probable cause of the crash, Brown’s family announced that they do not blame Tesla.

"We heard numerous times that the car killed our son,” Brown’s family said in a statement, which also broke their previous silence.

“That is simply not the case. There was a small window of time when neither Joshua nor the Tesla features noticed the truck making the left-hand turn in front of the car. People die every day in car accidents. Change always comes with risks, and zero tolerance for deaths would totally stop innovation and improvements."

It is unclear at this time if Tesla settled with the family out of court. However, the company did make a statement on Monday as well.

"Josh Brown was a friend to Tesla, and as his family articulated so eloquently, a passionate advocate for technology. Our thoughts are with the entire Brown family," the company said in a statement.

Bottom Line

Tesla’s investment into charging stations around the country, especially in major cities, will go a long way as they sell more vehicles. The Supercharger push also puts them well ahead of many other automakers entering the electric vehicle market.

Autopilot accidents aren’t likely to stop, and it will never be easy when a crash proves fatal. But the Brown’s show of support for Tesla’s futuristic technological vision is something that could go a long way to help public perception, and in turn not hit the company’s stock price.

Shares of Tesla jumped over 5.58% on Monday.

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