THE MYSTERIOUS TWEET: Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted this image on October 2 and caused the battery-car automaker's shares to jump by 4.5%. Image: Elon Musk / Twitter
NEW YORK, New York -Tesla Motors shares raced higher on Thursday (Oct 2) after founder Elon Musk tantalised fans via Twitter with a hint the electric battery-car maker was to release a new model.
"About time to unveil the D and something else," Musk said in his tweet, without elaborating.
The message included a photo of a part-open garage door bearing a letter "D" and the silhouette of an automobile. Underneath was written October 9, 2014.
Tesla shares jumped 4.5% to $251.09 (the equivalent of R2815) in afternoon trade amid frenzied speculation about the announcement.
Some analysts said the automaker, which has seen unstoppable demand for its pricey automobiles, would announce a new and more-affordable model.
Trip Chowdhry at Global Equities Research said he expected Tesla would announce both a Model D and technology partnerships, probably with Apple and the mobile navigation group MobileEye.
Tesla announced plans to build the world's largest lithium-ion battery plant in Nevada in September 2014 as part of an effort to bring down costs and boost the popularity of battery cars. The company will run operations while its Japanese partner Panasonic makes battery cells destined for the plant and invest in equipment and machinery.
Panasonic and Tesla said the plant should drive down the cost of batteries and eventually help popularise Tesla products.
While Tesla produces relatively few vehicles, it has become a star in the sector due to keen demand and a reputation for high quality. A surge in its share price over the past year has pushed its value past the equivalent of R336-billion.
Tesla's Model S sells for around R840 750 but it the company is working on a less-expensive Model 3.