Tesla plans to quietly change the car world forever
Tesla, originally Tesla Motors, was born in 2003 when a group of engineers passionate about electric cars (EVs) wanted to prove to people that they shouldn’t be afraid to buy them. They wanted to develop their own line of cars that were “better, faster and more fun than petrol cars.”
Do what others can’t
One of the main motivations for the birth of Tesla was General Motors (GM) discontinuing the EV1 program. GM ran the program for only three years, from 1996 to 1999, and produced a limited number of vehicles. They were also never marketed, but were still considered a technical success.
|Tesla Motor founders Martin Eberhard (right) and Marc Tarpenning|
Tesla Motors is named after Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor of the AC electric motor. According to Business Insider, co-founder Martin Eberhard chose this name when discussing the idea of a startup with his girlfriend. “Tesla” fits the new company’s vision, he said, providing a solid understanding of a completely different direction in electric car development.
On April 23, 2003, Mr. Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning officially registered the Teslamotors.com domain name. In July 2003, Tesla was founded, Mr. Eberhard and Mr. Tarpenning became CEO and CFO of a startup.
The two used their own money to open Tesla and set up a Serie A funding round to raise more investment money. That’s when Elon Musk showed up. After becoming rich thanks to PayPal, Mr. Musk leads Tesla’s Series A funding round, invested $6.3 million, appointed Chairman.
The following year, Tesla signed a deal with Lotus to help design the chassis and body of its first model, the Roadster. In the 2006 Series B funding round, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page also poured money into Tesla. In July of the same year, the prototype Roadster made its world premiere.
Shortly thereafter, Tesla announced its “secret plan,” which was to develop a sports car, using the proceeds from sales to develop cheaper models, while providing a generation of pollution-free electric motors. .
Before the Roadster was born in 2008, the two founders left Tesla. A beautiful sports car, equipped with modern battery technology and an all-electric powertrain. Not only was that a great achievement for a startup company, but it also proved that no one but Tesla could do it. Tesla has produced electric cars with specifications that meet user needs, even though the price is out of reach of the majority (over 100,000 USD).
Tesla’s predecessors failed for a variety of reasons, one of which was not being able to produce enough battery power for daily driving, or a cost-effective engine that could fit in a vehicle and reach high speeds.
Roadsters do it all. The original Roadster model can cover 402km on a single charge and at the same speed as any other sports car. It uses a lithium-ion battery common in many electrical devices, which can be charged with a standard wall charger.
However, Tesla also encountered some problems. The Roadster takes 24 to 48 hours to charge the battery using a standard household wall outlet. If you want to challenge traditional gasoline cars, the charging speed will have to be significantly reduced. This is an urgent problem that Tesla will have to solve in the years to come. Currently, Tesla is introducing the V3 Supercharging charger, 5 minutes of charging is enough to cover a distance of more than 120km, but still not fast enough. With 5 minutes of refueling, petrol cars can cover longer distances.
Elon Musk becomes Tesla boss
Tesla receives a lot of orders, some customers are willing to dig deeper to be at the top of the shipping list. Things seemed to be going in the right direction, but the company had financial problems.
In October 2008, Mr Musk took over as CEO, laying off 25% of the staff. The senior ranks did not go smoothly when a year later, founders Eberhard and Tarpenning filed a lawsuit against Mr. Musk and the old company, allegedly forced out of Tesla by Mr. Musk. The lawsuit was dismissed but Tesla was in danger. They only had $10 million in cash, which wasn’t enough to complete and deliver the car to a customer.
The Daimler auto group rescued Tesla in May 2009 when it bought a 10% stake for $50 million, helping Tesla escape the catastrophe. Shortly thereafter, Tesla borrowed $465 million from the US Department of Energy, acquiring the capital it needed to survive in the long term. They moved their base to Palo Alto.
|Tesla CEO Elon Musk|
The major event in Tesla’s history was its successful IPO in June 2010, raising $226 million. From here, the company designed the world’s first electric sedan, the Model S. The Model S sets all the standards for electric vehicles, not only achieving the longest range, but also being capable of updating software. and the fastest time of 0 to 60 mph (2.28 seconds).
With a selling price of over $75,000, the Model S is the next step in Tesla’s “secret plan.” This car was produced in 2012 and received many compliments, as well as countless awards. Tesla stopped making Roadsters to focus on the new sedan. 2012 also saw the introduction of the “Supercharger” charging station, which only takes 5 minutes to charge and runs 120km.
Tesla posted first-quarter profit in 2013, announcing the construction of a massive Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada the following year. It is the main electric vehicle battery production base and the core of the company’s business model. Tesla is also investing in sustainable energy, developing many products such as Powerwall, Powerpack, Solar Roof in hopes of helping households and businesses generate their own electricity for use.
In 2015, Tesla added a new model, the Model X. The company began developing a semi-autonomous driving system, with the mission of turning Tesla cars into fully self-driving cars. The Tesla Model 3 was introduced in 2016, still under “secret plans”. This is a cheaper model, sold in 2017.
Tesla Motors also changed its name to Tesla, demonstrating the transformation, not just encapsulating in car production. In 2018, Tesla failed to meet some financial expectations, prompting investors to sell its stock, dropping its value by 5%, or more than $10 billion. Production of the Model 3 was also slower than Musk expected, producing fewer than 2,500 vehicles, contradicting his claim of producing 5,000 cars a week.
In August of the same year, Musk faced controversy when he tweeted about taking Tesla private when the stock hit $420, rattling the market. The US Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation, accusing Musk of providing misleading information to inflate the company’s stock. In the end Tesla had to pay a $20 million fine, Mr Musk stepped down as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Currently, Tesla’s product portfolio includes the Tesla Semi truck and the Model Y SUV. Tesla also introduced the idea of a bulletproof super pickup Cybertruck, attracting great attention thanks to its futuristic design. The company began construction of Gigafactory 4 in Germany from 2020, with an expected capacity of half a million vehicles per year.
Last year, Tesla achieved record sales of 499,550 vehicles. After a difficult first few years, the company now dominates the electric vehicle market with an 80% share in the US and a quarter of the global market. The company continues to expand its factories and strengthen its worldwide network of charging stations.
Will Tesla be able to fulfill its big ambitions? Only time that can answer.
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