Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Tesla Quietly Building Support on Wall Street

Tesla Model S
Source: Tesla Motors

As expected, 2011 has been a relatively quiet one for electric car maker Tesla.

But the absence of major product and corporate news has not scared off investors and Wall Street.

Actually, there's been a steady rise in Tesla shares and increasingly positive comments about where the company is headed.

The latest coming in a note from Morgan Stanley. Auto analyst Adam Jonas recently visited Tesla's operations in California and came away with increased confidence about where Tesla is headed. Specifically, Jonas says Tesla is on schedule for Model S deliveries in mid-2012 and progress on the Fremont, California plant is rapid and on plan.

In short, Tesla appears to be on track to deliver what it's forecast.

Admittedly, a lot could change between now and when the Model S hits the street next year or when the company unveils a prototype of its Model X crossover-SUV, likely later this year. In the meantime, the moves Tesla is making right now are reassuring Wall Street and investors. Since going public in the middle of last year, Tesla shares are up 15.4% and they're up 7.7% in the last 3 months.

What Tesla is attempting to do is no easy task.

Going from niche automaker to full line car company is incredibly tough and loaded with potential problems. The biggest question is execution. It's one thing to build a few thousand roadsters and sell them to a small but highly interested group of potential customers who are wealthy and intent on buying an electric car. It's quite another to design and build new offerings like the Model S for a broader audience.

The next 9-12 months will be crucial for Tesla as the company ramps up production of the model S and we'll see if Elon Musk can get his company to execute its expansion plan.

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