Tesla shares break $300 for the first time, closing in on GM's market cap

Rational behavior not found in Tesla valuation: Expert

Tesla shares crossed $300 to hit an all-time high on Tuesday.

This is the second day in a row of record-setting highs for the stock. On Sunday, the electric car maker reported first-quarter deliveries outpaced analysts' expectations. Investors saw this news as a good sign as Tesla ramps up for production of its Model 3.

Tesla shares surged as high as $304 in trading Tuesday, but the stock recently backed off that to trade at $302.77, up 4.3 percent.

Tesla's previous all-time high, set on Monday, pushed the company's market capitalization past that of Ford for the first time.

Ford's market capitalization sits at about $44.8 billion. Tesla's is now roughly $49.4 billion, just two billion shy of GM's $51.4 billion market cap.

To put this in perspective, Tesla sold just over 76,000 cars in 2016, whereas Ford sold 6.7 million cars in 2016. GM sold a record 10 million cars in 2016.

Ford and GM also have healthy balance sheets and steadily turn a profit, while Tesla has only reported two profitable quarters and recently raised capital to fund its growth.

But Tesla investors are betting on the company's potential for higher growth ahead. During the first quarter, Tesla's sales were up 69 percent from the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, the more traditional automakers Monday reported disappointing monthly sales that were struggling to keep pace with that of March 2016.