A Brief History of Tesla

The Story of Tesla – How It All Started

In just its 13 years of existence, Tesla has had many achievements. Officially, Tesla was founded in 2003 by two Silicon Valley engineers, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who wanted to prove that electric cars could be better than gasoline-powered cars. However, the real story began when the two met in 1990. As the friendship between the two grew, they decided to turn it into a business relationship. Initially, they started doing consultancy for disk-drive companies. The 1990s saw great rise in technological innovation and the two were not willing to miss any chance. With a flair for entrepreneurship, they started NuvoMedia. In the later part of 1998, they facilitated the release of Rocket eBook.
By 2000, they really wanted to start a big-shot company. The idea of getting into electric cars came to Eberhard when he drove the tzero, an electric sports car. With his incredible expertise in the area of AC Propulsion, a production-level electric car did not seem a far-fetched dream. He, along with Tarpenning, started doing research on how they could take full advantage of electric power. In a lot of their readings, they came across articles that reiterated the fact that electric cars will not succeed because there has not been any improvement in the battery technology for almost hundred years. This was, of course, true but only of lead-acid batteries. The lithium-ion batteries were, however, constantly getting better and cheaper. By the summer of 2003, Eberhard and Tarpenning knew that they wanted to start an electric car company. Their initial idea was to build a two-seater sports car containing lithium-ion batteries and an induction motor. The biggest challenge they faced was that the automotive industry was not great to start-ups. Finally, after finding the manufacturing partners, they decided it was time.

The Incorporation

Once the decision was made, it was time to decide the name of the company. Eberhard wanted to give credit to the man who invented AC induction motor, the type of motor they were planning to use. The name Tesla is in the honour of the Serbian-American scientist, Nikola Tesla. In the April of 2003, the domain name of Teslamotors.com was bought. The company was officially incorporated on July 1st, 2003.

Meeting with Elon Musk

In 2004, Tesla was in dire need of investments to continue its operations. The PayPal cofounder by the name of Elon Musk, was speaking at a conference at Mars Society. Eberhard and Tarpenning attended that conference and got a chance to meet Musk. Musk had already thought of the idea of building cars that were far superior to what the market produced. The Tesla guys’ pitch was successful and Musk finally decided that he was going to join in. In the first round, he invested almost $7.5 Million and became the chairman of the board. Now, the only way to go for Tesla was forward.

Tesla’s Timeline

After this story of Tesla’s foundation, let’s take a look at its timeline over the years.
Musk Comes to Rescue Again
In 2005, Musk again stepped in to invest in the company. This time he financed $13 Million to help in the development of the much-hyped Tesla Roadster.
An Agreement between Tesla and Lotus
In early July of 2005, Tesla struck a deal with Lotus. Lotus signed a contract agreeing that it would be manufacturing complete cars except the powertrain for the highly-anticipated Tesla Roadster.
The Roadster is ready to hit the Road
On 19th of July 2006, Tesla’s first production vehicle was introduced to the market. The unveiling ceremony was held at the Santa Monica Airport and the then CEO Martin Eberhard and Chairman Elon Musk were present. Tesla was proud to introduce its dream child.
Tesla Faces a Rough Patch
The latter part of 2007 saw Tesla in rough patch due to issues over leadership. In December 2007 Ze’ev Drori, a successful entrepreneur and leader, became the CEO and president of Tesla. His short span of less than 1 year saw 10% of Tesla’s staff being laid off, however it must be mentioned that the company became profitable in this time.
Elon Musk Takes Over
In October 2008, Musk becomes the CEO and takes all of company’s operations in his hands. He kept on investing in the company. By that time, he had spent almost $70 Million of his own money for the company.
The Model S Comes to the Market
In June 2008, Tesla introduces Model S that is designed to be Tesla’s more affordable family Sedan. The starting price of the car was $50,000 and the car could carry seven passengers.
Tesla Goes Public
After Ford in 1956, Tesla became the first American car company to go public. The company raised around $226 Million in their public offering.
Tesla Secretly Starts Building Electric Car Charging Stations
In 2012, Tesla started building Superstations across California. At the time, there were only six stations operating – now there are almost 200 worldwide.
The Fires Hit Tesla
Just as Tesla was progressing slowly, the company’s 3 Model S Sedans caught fire following accidents. There were no serious injuries but the public perception was beginning to shift. After the third fire, Tesla’s stocks plummeted by 20 percent.
Tesla Recovers in 2014
After a dismal year, Tesla began to find its footing. The stocks soared up 47 percent after the fire incidents. 28,500 Model S cars were delivered to the market in the year 2014.
The Model X Is Ready to be revealed
Tesla’s new car Model X is spotted at the highway near the company’s Head Quarters in the March of 2015. This was a sign of great things to come.
Model X Owners Accept Keys from Musk
In September 2015, Musk handed the keys to the new Model X owners on stage. Their ride is ready to hit the road.
Model 3 Comes to the Fore
Recently on March 31st 2016, Tesla unveiled Model 3 – a car claimed to be more affordable. The starting price will be $35,000 and the car will be ready to be shipped at the end of 2017.