The history of the automobile has been writ largely in the vapors of hydrocarbons, burned and otherwise, so not everybody is fully comfortable with industry’s gradual pivot toward more environmentally sustainable propulsion. That’s understandable. But if you need more convincing that electric vehicles are here, and will indisputably become more commonplace, you need only consider the case of Tesla, one of the world’s most intriguing automakers. While everybody was occupied with other things, Tesla delivered nearly 140,000 new vehicles globally in the third quarter of 2020, and its stock valuation has rocketed up by an astonishing 700 percent in this calendar year alone.
Last week, Tesla achieved a new level of prestige in the business world when its stock joined the S&P 500, the index of stocks from 500 large companies that are traded on U.S. equity markets. The companies listed on the S&P 500 are selected on the basis of capitalization, which is where Tesla’s current stock price comes in: Tesla’s market capitalization was more than $600 billion when it joined the S&P 500, making it the largest company in history added to the index. Nothing on Wall Street is ever guaranteed, but Tesla’s stock closed yesterday at 645.98, up a little less than 1 percent. That means a share of Tesla stock is now worth nearly $646. Think about it.