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This June 22, 2012 file photo shows a Tesla Model S outside the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. Tesla Motors Inc.
This June 22, 2012 file photo shows a Tesla Model S outside the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. Tesla Motors Inc.
(Paul Sakuma/AP)

SEAN SILCOFF

A skeptic’s take on Tesla’s rapid acceleration

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Is electric-car maker Tesla Motors, Inc. the new Amazon.com Inc. – or the new Ballard Power Systems Inc.? Like Amazon and Ballard in the late 1990s, Tesla’s stock has rocketed to senseless levels by conventional financial yardsticks, based on wildly optimistic promises of great rewards to come many years from now. Amazon.com, of course, became a game-changing e-commerce retailer, eventually exceeding its initial hype. Ballard’s promise to deliver commercially viable fuel cell technology fizzled and its stock collapsed. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla, whose stock popped last week on better-than-expected second quarter results, is at least selling vehicles and generating revenue – but investors must be sniffing gas to be convinced this is a sure-fire winner.