Tesla says its Model S sedan drove earnings this quarter. (Tesla Motors)
Tesla’s Model S sedan  (Tesla Motors) (Tesla Motors)

Would-be “Teslanaires” are so convinced that Tesla is the next big growth stock that they’re pouring their life savings into the company — often against the advice of family, friends and financial advisers.

The Mercury News reports that Elon Musk’s company has attained a cultlike following not seen since the early days of Apple. Perhaps for good reason:

The company’s stock has skyrocketed nearly 300 percent this year thanks to a string of successes, from a rave review in Consumer Reports to better-than-expected sales of the all-electric Model S sedan and, this week, five-star safety ratings in federal crash tests. The Palo Alto-based electric-carmaker, whose stock closed Wednesday at $147.86 per share, now has a market cap of about $18 billion, and some analysts say shares could double again within the next three to four years as Detroit races to play catch-up.

The story talks to a number of Tesla investors who have reaped big rewards, such as Patrick Hop, a 22-year-old UC Berkeley student who poured his life savings — $30,000 — into Tesla in June 2012. Then the stock was trading at about $32 per share. When the stock hit $115 this July, Hop dumped his shares and invested in options on Tesla stock (high-risk bets on the stock’s future performance). He estimates he’s made about $250,000.

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