US electric automaker Tesla Motors has gone public. The Palo Alto, California-based carmaker, which is being traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "TSLA," offered 13.3 million shares priced at 17 dollars per share.
Tesla shares rose sharply after being listed around mid-day and were trading 7.24 percent higher at 18.23 dollars. At 17 dollars per share, the initial public offering would raise 226.1 million dollars with 202 million dollars going to Tesla itself.
Founded in 2003 by Musk, a co-founder of online payments giant PayPal and SpaceX, whose Falcon 9 rocket blasted off on its maiden voyage this month, Tesla specializes in environmentally friendly electric cars.
The Tesla Roadster, a high-performance sports car, costs more than 100,000 dollars and can go nearly 250 miles (400 kilometers) on a single charge. Tesla is also making a "Model S" five-passenger sedan powered by lithium-ion battery packs capable of between 160 and 300 miles (257 and 482 kilometers) per charge.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its initial public offering, Tesla said it had sold 1,063 Tesla Roadsters to customers in 22 countries as of March 31.
The Model S, expected in 2012, has an anticipated base price of around 50,000 dollars. According to the documents filed with the SEC, Tesla has generated total revenue of 147.6 million dollars since it was founded and has accumulated a deficit of 290.2 million dollars.
The company said it had a net loss of 55.7 million dollars last year.
Musk, in an interview with CNBC television on Tuesday, said "people need to appreciate that if we were just making the Roadster, we would be profitable as a company but we are in massive expansion mode. We are increasing our volume by 30 to 40 fold, so it is just impossible for a company to be profitable given that level of growth," Musk said.
Japan's Toyota has already agreed to take a 50-million-dollar stake in Tesla, purchasing 3.33 million shares in the company. German luxury carmaker Daimler took a 10-percent stake in Tesla in May of last year and sold 40 percent of its stake in July to Aabar Investments group of the United Arab Emirates.
Last year, Tesla received a 465-million-dollar loan from the US Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program to help it build the Model S. Tesla is the first US auto company to go public since Ford in 1956.