Tips, Tricks & Trends

When Was Tesla Founded?

Unless you’re completely disconnected, you’ve probably heard of Elon Musk and his Tesla brand. You may not realize there’s more to the iconic electric vehicle (EV) company than the latest Cybertruck. In fact, Tesla is turning the automotive industry on its end and revolutionizing not only how cars are built, but how people buy them all together. We wanted to highlight some of Tesla’s history that you may not know and dive in to explore how Tesla is disrupting the industry and changing more than just how vehicles are being powered.

The birth of Tesla

The Tesla company was born from science in 2003. Founders and engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning launched in San Carlos, California under the original company name, Tesla Motors. Originally inspired by the 19th-century alternating current inventor, Nikola Tesla, the corporation changed its name to Tesla, Inc. in 2017.

Two American entrepreneurs, Tarpenning as CFO and Eberhard as CEO, were on a mission to develop an electric sports car. Elon Musk joined the venture as chairman in 2004 and originally invested more than $30 million.

Tesla’s first completely electric car was introduced in 2008; they called it the Roadster. It was a sleek and stylish sports car, with unprecedented range. During testing, the Roadster’s cutting edge battery technology lasted 245 miles on a single charge. The company continued to produce similar vehicles through June 2009 before giving the Roadster its first major product upgrade for the 2010 model year.

The Tesla family of electric vehicles

A Tesla Model X stands in front of a sales shop and service center of the manufacturer of electric vehicles, Tesla
A Tesla Model X stands in front of a sales shop and service center | Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

After the success of the Roadster, Tesla set out to design the world’s first all-electric and premium sedan. The Model S has become the top car in its class and marries EV technology with safety, performance, and comfort. In 2015, Tesla expanded again and introduced the Model X, the safest SUV in automotive history. The following year, Americans embraced the Model 3, a lower-priced and easy-to-mass-produce electric vehicle. The Cybertruck hit the stage last year with its boxy and unique take on the truck segment.

What began as an EV idea quickly grew into a popular consumer movement. As people look for better ways to be ‘green’ and reduce their environmental footprint, Tesla steps up to deliver the vehicles to do just that. In turn, as more and more buyers transition to electric vehicles, there has been a boom in the implementation of charging stations as well. The world in which we live is slowing transitioning to be EV conducive. And, what used to be a trendy idea for some, is turning into a preferred method of transportation for many.

Changing the automotive industry

Tesla isn’t just changing how vehicles are deriving power. The company is disrupting how dealerships and customers engage. Instead of floor-planning lots of vehicles to franchise dealerships, Tesla sells its EV cars directly to the consumer. This bypassing of the traditional dealership relationship is ruffling feathers and has ignited various state lawsuits. Recently, Tesla won one of its suits and was awarded the right to sell to consumers directly in the state of Michigan. Some wonder if this business model will eventually make the franchise dealer transaction obsolete.

Today, Tesla, Inc. is a sizeable company blazing new paths and setting new expectations for electric vehicles. The engineers are designing new cars from the ground up and against all the traditional methods. You may not be ready to take the plunge and buy an EV for yourself just yet, but the Tesla movement is coming, and innovation is coming with it. What we drive, along with how we buy our cars, is undoubtedly an ever-changing landscape because of Tesla.