Tesla Motor Races 13% Higher as CEO Projects First-Ever Quarterly Profit

Shares of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) soared 13% Monday morning after the electric car manufacturer surprised Wall Street by projecting its first-ever quarterly profit thanks to stronger-than-expected Model S sales.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said it sold 4,750 units of its Model S vehicle, exceeding its projection of 4,500 unit sales as of mid-February.

Tesla said it now expects to log a full profit in the first quarter, on both a GAAP and non-GAAP basis. By comparison, analysts had been bracing for a loss of 7 cents a share.

It would mark Tesla’s first quarterly since going public in 2010. Tesla suffered a loss of $89.87 million, or 86 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2012.

“There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real,” Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a statement. “Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution.”

Tesla also said its small battery option for the Model S will not enter production due to a lack of demand. The company said just 4% of its customers opted for the 40kWh battery pack, “which is not enough to justify production of that version.”

Shares of Tesla soared 12.8% out of the gate on Monday to hit a 52-week high of $42.75. That rally leaves Tesla up 24% so far this year and 13.6% over the past 12 months.

Tesla’s stock may also be receiving a boost from recent comments on Twitter by Musk, who promised a “really exciting” announcement on Tuesday that is “arguably more important” than the quarterly profit news.