Tesla rides high on investors’ extreme leap of faith in tech future

If Elon Musk’s company does to cars what Amazon did to shopping, then the trillion-dollar valuation may be justified

Elon Musk, whose 21 per cent stake in Tesla has made him the richest person in history. Picture: Eyevine/Redux

Three years ago, Elon Musk announced that he was thinking of making a buyout offer for Tesla, the electric-car maker he founded, runs and partly owns. At the time, the South Africa-born entrepreneur’s company was under siege from short sellers who argued that it was wildly overvalued, and they were driving him to distraction.

The price Musk suggested for the take-private deal was $420 a share, about a third more than the level at which ...