This story was updated at 1:40 p.m. EDT.
Consider it the Model 3 bump.
Shares in Tesla Motors touched a nearly six-month high Friday after the automaker received a large number of preorders for its entry-level electric car due out in late 2017.
Despite a rising number of “sell” recommendations from equity researchers in the past year, investors were as eager to snatch up shares Friday as customers were to lay down $1,000 deposits. The company will soon report its first quarter sales figures.
CEO Elon Musk announced around noon Friday on his Twitter account that Tesla received 198,000 refundable deposits, putting its revenue collected since early Thursday at $198 million. The total value of the reservations tops $8.5 billion, assuming no cancellations or refunds. Tesla wants to deliver 500,000 cars a year by 2020. The company has sold about 126,000 cars since 2008.
Definitely going to need to rethink production planning...
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2016
Musk estimated the average transaction price for the Model 3 was $42,000. This includes the $35,000 base price plus options customers selected when they made the deposits.
Tesla’s share price hit its highest intraday level since Oct. 5 shortly after the opening bell Friday and was still nearly 3 percent higher in midday trading, rising to $235.91. Its stock is still down 1.6 percent for the year after a big drop in the markets in mid-February.
“We believe the milestone may mark an important pivot in investor sentiment which has been rather negative around the company for the past few quarters,” Morgan Stanley automotive analyst Adam Jonas said in a note Friday.
The company is expected to report its first quarter sales figures soon, possibly during the weekend, which will give the next signal on the company’s progress. Tesla was aiming to deliver 16,000 units in the first three months of the year, and has said it would sell at least 80,000 Model S luxury sedans and Model X utility vehicles in 2016.
If that target is met, Tesla will have grown sales by 59 percent this year. But to do that it will need to average 20,000 cars each quarter. Historically, Tesla tends to increase its deliveries toward the end of the year, so a 16,000 hit for the first quarter still puts it comfortably in line to hitting its annual target.