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It’s the most familiar car emblem in the electric vehicle (EV) industry: the Tesla logo. Still, even though the badge on the many Tesla Motors EVs looks like a “T” or something Loki might use to stab his high-voltage brother, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Many observers go as far as to call the badge on Elon Musk’s marque a cat nose, referencing the odd shape. So, what is the inspiration for the EV market dominator’s emblem? 

What does the Tesla logo mean?

According to a tweet Elon Musk wrote in response to the question about the Tesla logo, the “T” shape represents “a cross section of an electric motor.” The electric automaker used the cross-section’s similarities to a “T” to create an instantly recognizable emblem. 

The EV marque’s badge isn’t the only time that Musk and his teams have used an industry-derived shape to craft a logo. Musk said in the same tweet that his privatized space technology company, SpaceX, gets its “X” emblem from the shape of a rocket’s trajectory.  

Is the Tesla logo a cat nose?

A cat's nose has a similar shape to a Tesla Motors emblem and logo.
A cat’s nose alongside a Tesla emblem | Justin Sullivan and Auscape, Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Elon Musk joked on Twitter at one point in time that his electric car marque’s emblem is a cat’s nose. While the tweet was in jest, the similarities are noticeable. 

Of course, Musk has a history of tweeting odd and controversial content, including a 2019 call to “Nuke Mars.” Moreover, some internet critics of the automaker’s emblem point out that the “T” shape on the decklid of every Model S resembles the female reproductive system, per Bright Side

Elon Musk speaks next to his electric car company's emblem, a Tesla "T" logo.
Elon Musk speaks in front of his electric car company’s emblem | Nora Tam, South China Morning Post via Getty Images

Although the original Tesla Motors emblem had the iconic electric motor cross-section “T” shape, the letter was centered on a badge with the company’s namesake. In 2017, the automaker dropped the badge, leaving just the “T” shape. 

How many Tesla models are there?


20 Years of Tesla: A Brief History of the Market’s Most Disruptive Automaker

Today, two decades after the California EV marque got its start, the brand has four mainstream models: the Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y. Further, in Elon Musk and company’s infinite cheekiness, lining up the models will spell “S3XY.” 

However, the automaker’s four primary models aren’t the only vehicles Tesla plans to produce. The incipient Cybertruck boasts low-resolution styling to compliment the brand’s characteristic disruptiveness. Moreover, the Tesla Semi is heading to commercial clients. However, performance fanatics are most excited about the second-generation Roadster’s inevitable return to the marque’s lineup. 

Does every Tesla model have the same emblem?

The Model S, X, 3, and Y wear the Tesla logo prominently. However, the pre-production Cybertruck is surrounded by smooth paneling. As a result, video game-esque EV truck seems to go without the familiar badge.

Of course, production-ready Cybertrucks might incorporate some version of the “T.” Beyond the angular truck, every other vehicle in the automaker’s lineup displays the marque’s badge in at least two places.