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Why Did Tesla (TSLA) Stock Pop Today?

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Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) saw its stock price dip slightly in early morning trading Thursday, but the electric car maker’s shares went on to jump over 3% higher than yesterday’s closing price. Let’s take a look at what happened to quickly reverse Tesla’s one-day fortunes.

Electric Semi

CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) on Wednesday night that Tesla is set to debut its first ever electric semi truck in October.

“This beast” is Tesla’s initial foray into commercial vehicles and could represent a massive step towards what many experts and analysts assume will lead to a trucking industry shakeup down the road.

The electric semi will reportedly sport an initial range of 200 to 300 miles before they need to be recharged. Current diesel trucks can travel 1,000 miles or more on a single tank of gas. This likely means the electric trucks will be confined to more localized routes when they first launch.

Demand for the Tesla semi trucks will be high, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker. Details surrounding the costs are unclear at this time.

But the supposed release of the new Tesla electric semi comes while the company is supposed to be deep into production of its mass-market, less-expensive Model 3 sedan.

Model 3 News

Chamath Palihapitiya, a former top Facebook (FB) executive and the founder of Palo Alto-based venture capital firm, Social Capital, spoke about Tesla on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report" on Thursday. He asserted that demand for Tesla’s new Model 3 sedan will quickly overtake BMW’s lower-end Series 3 sedan. "That entire business is going to go to zero," Palihapitiya said.

He claimed that pre-orders of the Model 3 are already catching up to BMW 3 Series orders, asserting that “people are fundamentally misunderstanding the demand of the [Tesla] Model 3.”

"There is not a single person of right, sound mind and body, if you could build a Tesla Model 3 online and get it delivered in 30, 60, 90 days, or you have the choice of buying the BMW 3 Series will choose the BMW," Palihapitiya proclaimed.

Bottom Line

Tesla’s shares rose this week despite the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board ruling on Tuesday that the electric carmaker was at least partially responsible for the first official car-related autopilot death.

But with the possibility of electric semi trucks on the road in the near future, as well as mind-blowing Model 3 sales, perhaps Tesla has earned the right to be stay above the fray in many investors’ eyes.

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