In pursuit of its goal to make half a million electric cars by 2018, Tesla Motors is about to offer as much as $1.7 billion in new common stock to meet that goal.

In an SEC filing, Tesla disclosed its plans to offer more common stock.

The electric vehicle manufacturer anticipates that the common stock, priced at $204.66 per share on May 17, will receive net proceeds of $1.4 billion after commissions, discounts and other expenses. That figure could increase to $1.7 billion, if the underwriters exercise their full option to purchase more shares through the offer.

Tesla plans to use the proceeds from the sale to accelerate its upcoming ramp up in production of its economy-priced Model 3. The car, which starts at $35,000, is due out at the end of next year and Tesla is anticipating that it will sell a ton of Model 3s.

"If we wanted to, we believe that we could further increase the number of Model 3 reservations with minimal effort, but believe it is better to guide customers to purchase products currently in production," Tesla stated [PDF].

By 2018, Tesla hopes to have produced 500,000 cars — that includes the Model S, Model X and Model 3 — as evidenced in recent images of Tesla's Gigafactory. But considering that auto manufacturers typically produce about 200,000 to 250,000 cars each year, Edmunds' senior analyst Jessica Caldwell is pessimistic about the electric vehicle maker's chances of hitting that goal.

"Raising money is going to help them try to reach that 500,000 number, but a lot of people have doubts," said Caldwell. "It seems like an unreachable goal."

While that goal may be a bit lofty, Tesla's conviction is supported by the high number of preorders already placed for the Model 3.

Announced just a month and a half ago, March 31 to be exact, Tesla has already fielded about 373,000 preorders for the Model 3. Tesla arrived at that figure after accounting for suspected duplicate orders and cancellations, which total about 12,200 all together.

Tesla, in the filing, pointed out that it received those 373,000 advance orders without advertising, social media, paid endorsements, or disclosing the car's full specs. And test drivers were only offered at the car's unveiling back in March.

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Tags: Tesla Model 3