Tesla Motors announces IPO; can it drive down the cost of the electric car?

Tesla Motors officially announced its IPO, setting a price of $17 per share. But first-day trading excitement boosted the price, valuing the company at more than $248 million.

There's no denying that high-performance electric car maker Tesla Motors is glamorous.

But can it deliver value?

The company on Tuesday officially announced its initial public offering of 13.3 million shares of common stock, setting the price at $17.00 per share, for a grand total value of $226 million. (NASDAQ ticker symbol: TSLA)

The news comes just two weeks after the company put a $185 million price tag on itself , with a little help from Japanese auto giant Toyota.

Fueled by hype for the cleantech poster child, trading for the company actually opened higher at $19, immediately dropping to $17.54 but settling (at the time of this writing) around $18.64 per share.

That boosts the potential value of the company to $248 million.

A quick rundown of the nitty-gritty:

  • 11,880,600 shares are being offered by the company.
  • 1,419,400 shares are being offered by selling stockholders.
  • The selling stockholders have granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional aggregate of 1,995,000 shares of common stock to cover over-allotments.
  • Goldman, Sachs & Co., Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities are handling the books for the offering.

Tesla's mission is to produce affordable electric cars to mainstream buyers. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup began with the high-performance, high-price tag ($100,000) Roadster, and will succeed that model with the more modestly priced Model S, a four-door model with a price tag that's half as large.

To date, the company has produced and delivered more than 1,000 electric cars to customers on three continents.

The question: can the company actually help tip the economic scales and drive down the cost of EVs?

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