News hardware The unusual story of Tesla, a company you don’t fully know
The electric car manufacturer Tesla has become THE benchmark for alternative energy vehicles. You probably think you know everything about this company, yet you are far from it!
Elon Musk is not the founder of Tesla
This may shock many, but Elon Musk is not the founder of Tesla. Worse, it pushed the three original founders out. But suddenly what was Tesla before?
The company named Tesla Motors was created on July 1, 2003 by two engineers, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. A few months later, it was the turn of Ian Wright, Tesla’s third employee, to join the adventure. One year later, they are organizing a fundraiser to the tune of 7.5 million dollars. It is now that Elon Musk appears. He invests $6.5 million, a large majority of the fundraising.
Finally in 2004, Ian Wright left to also found an electric car company.
Elon Musk had just amassed a fortune by selling the company PayPal, of which he was the co-founder. This allows him to join Tesla Motors and become the chairman of the board. Two years later, a fundraiser yielded $13 million. The third fundraiser is led by Elon Musk and brings in $40 million. We find big names like Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google.
The next year $45 million are harvested, bringing the total to 105 million. The prototype of the Tesla Roadster had just been unveiled in July 2006.
In 2007, the musical chairs began. Eberhard is pushed out of the position of CEO and becomes “president of technology”. A year later, he decides to leave. At the same time, it is Marc Tarpenning who leaves the ship.
Martin Eberhard launches lawsuit in 2009 against Tesla seeing that Elon Musk presents himself as the founder of Tesla. Unfortunately for him, he gets the opposite from American justice. It rules by naming five official founders of Tesla Motors: The two originals, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, Ian Wright, Elon Musk and the investor Straubel.
The Tesla Roadster Revolution
Before an electric car, it was ugly, not very powerful, not very autonomous and it used lead batteries. In short, it’s a vehicle for old people… But Tesla aims to change that by proving that electric is fast and sporty.
The production of the Roadster begins in 2008 and delivers the first 147 models in 2009. At the same time, it manages to raise 187 million dollars. The problem is that the car is deliberately expensive. With an entry ticket of 84,000 euros, it still offers 370 km of autonomy and a 0 to 100 in 3.9 seconds. Then a sports model at 100,000 euros is sold. The goal is to recover money to develop a less expensive vehicle.
In the unusual anecdotes, we find the fact that the Tesla Roadster is actually a Lotus Elise with a battery and an electric motor. The carbon fiber body is also produced in France in Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, by Sotira.
Even more unusual, she took part in the 2009 Grand Prix de Monte-Carlo and wins in the alternative energy category. The driver at the wheel of the racing car is none other than Mathieu Kassovitz. Yes the actor from the movie La Haine, Amélie Poulain, from the Legends Office, etc. He managed to cover 386 km non-stop between Monaco and Valence.
The difficulties begin
From 2008 the situation is very complicated financially. He then put half of his fortune (70 million dollars) in Tesla and the other in SpaceX, also in difficulty. But the problems persist and Tesla is on the brink of bankruptcy. On Christmas Eve 2008 an investor adds $40 million, saving the automaker.
In June the State made a loan of 465 million dollars to turn the company around in crisis. Tesla can then design and manufacture the Tesla Model S, the manufacturer’s first real production car.
In 2012, the last Roadster was produced and the Model S was launched in stride. The car is award-winning and very successful. It will even reach the Top 1 of the best-selling cars in Norway in 2013.
Elon Musk, as a philanthropist, makes all Tesla patents accessible. He explains: “If a company depends on its patents, it is either not innovating or it is not innovating fast enough.” We feel a certain spade sent to Apple.
From 2017 the problems start again. The release of the Model 3, a more affordable but equally modern car, poses major logistical problems. Thus between 2017 and 2019, Tesla is again on the verge of filing for bankruptcy. The manufacturer then lays off and makes those who remain work much more. As a result, production manages to start and the first deliveries are made.
Tesla starts to spin
In 2018 Elon Musk realizes a joint project between its two companies Tesla and SpaceX by sending his own personal Roadster out into space towards Mars. This move was part of the final test for its Falcon Heavy rocket.
Despite the financial difficulties of 2017, Tesla donates solar panels to Puerto Rico hospital, after being hit by a hurricane. The following year, 37.5 million dollars were donated for the STEM K-12 educational project in Nevada. In 2020 January 2020, i.e. above all confinements, Tesla donates $720,000 to a Covid research center in China.
The Model 3 sells very well around the world and allows Tesla to see the light at the end of the tunnel in 2018. This is the model that Elon Musk wanted. From July 2019 until June 2020, Tesla declares profitable quarters. A boon for the company which was seen as on the end a few years earlier by financial analysts.
Today Tesla added the Model Y to its catalog. A kind of hybrid between a Model X and 3. Last unusual info. Elon Musk did not name his cars by chance. Putting them together, this makes: S3XY.