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What If You Bought Tesla Stock Instead Of One Of Its Cars?

Spoiler: You'd have made some serious cash.

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The year is 2010 and let's pretend for a moment that you've got some extra money to throw around. Let's say you're a car person and also a bit of a gadget lover and one of Tesla's shiny new electric sports cars are starting to look pretty attractive. After a little research, you decide to bite the bullet and shell out $109,000 to get in on the ground floor of the Tesla experiment.

But what if, instead of driving off the lot in a brand-new, aerodynamic, environmentally friendly Muskmobile, you decided to use that money to take a gamble on a plucky South African entrepreneur and his dream of revolutionizing the automotive industry?

Well, for one thing, you'd have made a considerable amount of money.

This morning, Tesla's stock hit an all-time high, rocketing up to $185.83 a share. As of this morning, the stock is up roughly 440% year-to-date, leading us to wonder: What would you stand to gain if, instead of laying down a cool $100K for a shiny new Tesla, you were to spend that money on the company's stock?

In 2011, The New York Times did a similar experiment with Apple products and stock and even though Apple has been a public company roughly 30 years longer than Elon Musk's fledgling Tesla Motors, the results are no less shocking. Unlike Apple, this isn't a story of slow growth, it's a case of serious wealth created almost overnight.

The findings are bound to be all the more painful for Tesla owners, a demographic that's heavy on wealthy, tech-savvy types and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who'd be the most likely to invest in the company.

Given the meteoric rise of Tesla's stock in the past 12 months, it would appear that a meager $96,570 investment back in August (when the stock hovered around $27) would yield a $557,676 profit as of this morning. Over half a million dollars in 13 months!

Since there's little reliable data on Tesla's stock price before its June 2010 IPO, we've only included post IPO valuations here, but it goes without saying that any earlier investments would bear even more fruit.

So sit back and see what could've been, if you had just put your money behind Elon Musk.

(Ed.: This is pretty basic, back-of-the-envelope math, based off Tesla's stock price today of $184.75. Obviously, these values are subject to change and have not been adjusted for inflation, but they're a rough guide.)


So, just to recap:

2010 Tesla Roadster Base Model - 2010 MSRP: $109,000

Stock Value Today: $842,936

Profit: $733,936

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport - 2010 MSRP: $128,500

Stock Value Today: $989,870

Profit: $861,370

2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport - 2011 MSRP: $128,500

Stock Value Today: $890,486

Profit: $761,986

2012 Tesla Model S Standard - 2012 MSRP: $57,400

Stock Value Today: $313,890

Profit: $256,490

2012 Tesla Model S Performance Model - 2012 MSRP: $77,400

Stock Value Today: $474,317

Profit: $396,917

2013 Tesla 362-hp Signature Model - 2013 MSRP: $96,570

Stock Value Today: $654,246

Profit: $557,676

2013 Tesla Signature Performance Model - 2013 MSRP: $106,570

Stock Value Today: $721,995

Profit: $615,425

Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.

Contact Charlie Warzel at

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