How much is Tesla, the electric carmaker, worth? The answer to that question has fluctuated wildly over the past couple of years as the company’s critics have taken their best shot. These detractors are legion, ranging from those who think its brilliant but erratic chief executive Elon Musk is a fraud, all the way through to the officers of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who in 2018 censured and fined Musk for playing fast and loose with normal stock market disclosure rules. Despite these slings and arrows, however, the most rapid change in Tesla’s stock market value has come in the past two months. Since November, the shares have more than doubled, leaving those who doubt Mr Musk and his company dumbfounded.

The rapid rise has pushed Tesla’s stock market value past $100bn, more than the combined share value of Detroit’s royalty, General Motors and Ford. It has even surpassed that of Germany’s Volkswagen, the biggest carmaker by volume. Mr Musk’s recent stock market s...

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