Call it a symbolic change of the guard, if you will.

For some time this morning, Tesla, Inc. (TSLA), which kick-started the electric car revolution, passed General Motors Company (GM), one of the pioneers of the car revolution in the United States, in market value today. At one point during trading today, Tesla's stock price passed $313, pushing its market capitalization to $51.17 billion. That figure surpassed GM's $51.1 billion market cap, making Tesla the most valuable automaker in the markets. As of this writing, Tesla is trading at $311.48 with a market capitalization of $50.89 billion. General Motors is trading at $33.96 pe pop, givng it a market cap of $51.18 billion. 

For context, General Motors reported $9 billion in profits last year and Tesla reported losses of $773 million. GM shipped millions of cars across multiple categories, including trucks and passenger car models, while Tesla shipped 76,000 luxury models. However, the markets are staking their dollars on Tesla's future, which appears bright given current conditions. Volatility in global oil prices combined with the threat of global warming has resulted in a surge of interest in renewable energy products. Cities and countries have passed legislation that mandates increased penetration for electric cars and solar products. Tesla is well positioned to take advantage of this rapidly expanding market. The Palo Alto-based company is a maker of premium electric cars, which have been consistently lauded for their technology and design. This year, it plans to release Model 3, its first mass-market electric car. It has ambitious plans for the future as well, with plans to dramatically alter logistics and public transportation.

Tesla became the second biggest the market's second-biggest automotive stock last week after its share price increased to $298.52, giving the company a market value of $48.63 billion. In comparison, Ford shares slipped 1.7 percent to $11.44, knocking its total value down to $45.4 billion. (See also: Elon Musk Mocks Short Sellers After Tesla Stock Surge.)

Tesla's stock price shot up after the company reported record deliveries of 25,000 vehicles during its first quarter. Investors saw the news as a confirmation that the company is on track to deliver 50,000 vehicles during the first half of this year. In contrast, Ford saw passenger car sales decline by 7.2 percent decline in sales of its cars. (See also: Tesla Reports Record Deliveries in the First Quarter.)

A Wall Street Journal report about Tesla's soaring stock price drew another parallel between the two companies. Henry Ford was 45 – the current age of Tesla CEO Elon Musk – when he released the Model T, the common man's car. Musk is scheduled to release the Model 3, an affordable electric car priced at $35,000, later this year. Musk is also said to have cheekily named Tesla's sedan Model S because the letter S comes before T in the alphabet. a successful Model 3 debut could ensure Musk's place in the history books – right next to Henry Ford. (See also: Elon Musk Biography.)

Again, the stock market's valuation for both companies is not reflective of the scale of their operations or profits. For example, Ford reported profits of $10.4 billion last year and had a positive cash flow of $6.4 billion. Meanwhile, Tesla had neither. (See also: Tesla's Stock Drops on Missed Delivery Forecast.)


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