How Tesla Emerged And Disrupted The Automotive Industryby@deanfed
132 reads

How Tesla Emerged And Disrupted The Automotive Industry

by David NdikomJuly 3rd, 2023
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Elon Musk is not the founder but a Co-founder of Tesla. Tesla was founded by Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, J.B. Straubel, Ian Wright, and Michael Marks. Musk invested $6.5 million of the total $7.5million received in February 2004.
featured image - How Tesla Emerged And Disrupted The Automotive Industry
David Ndikom HackerNoon profile picture

Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution —Elon Musk.

Who founded Tesla?

Nikola Tesla doesn’t own Tesla.

The 19th-century inventor discovered the properties of rotating electromagnetic fields, and there was no better way to pay homage to the pioneer than by naming the company after him.

Elon Musk is not the founder but a Co-founder.

But does being a co-founder not make you the founder?

Let’s roll back the years of Tesla’s beginning.

Tesla’s Beginning

Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning met at Wyse Technology a few years before they found Tesla on July 1, 2003, at 845 Oak Grove Avenue in Menlo Park.

Their inspiration came from General Motors' aborted car line EV1 which ran between 1996-1999, and AC propulsion all-electric cars.

Ian Wright joined the same year.

As they sought investment for their new company, they were recommended to Elon Musk, who readily invested $6.5 million of the total $7.5 million received in February 2004. Elon became the largest shareholder and chairman of the company.

Harold Rosen took J.B. Straubel to Elon Musk to help pitch his all-electric plane. Musk didn’t show interest, so Straubel grabbed the opportunity to pitch how all-electric cars could work with lithium-ion battery technology.

Musk got shocked by this discovery because he had always thought ultracapacitors were the only way to go electric.

Musk encouraged Straubel to joinTesla. He joined in May 2004.

These five became the company’s Co-founders.

Musk spearheaded Tesla’s second round of investment and secured $13 million in 2005. And the third round of investment was in May 2006. He raked in $40 million by encouraging his friends, Google Co-founders Larry Page, and Sergey Brin, to invest.

Jeff Skoll, former president ofeBay, was among its investors.

In 2006, the Roadster prototype was launched. The company’s first product that’s capable of incurring profits. Before now, investors money powered the company.

Power, Money, And Survival

A leadership tussle struck Tesla before Roadster’s launch.

The board asked Eberhard to step down as CEO in 2007. He then took the title of President of Technology and remained on the advisory board but left in 2008. Tarpenning, unsatisfied with the situation, left a month after.

Michael Marks became CEO temporarily in August 2007 after Eberhard stepped down, then Ze’ev Dvori took over permanently in December 2007. He’s recognized for the successful launch of Roadster, selling over 2,500 Roadsters at $109,000- $200,000. Musk became CEO in October 2008 and laid off 20% of its workers due to the financial crisis.

The crisis ate so deep that Tesla was on the verge of bankruptcy till Daimler AG bought 10% of its stake for $50 million in May 2009, and the US Department of Energy gave a $465 million loan by June 2009.

On June 29, 2010,Tesla entered the US Stock and raised $226 million, $17 per share, in its IPO because it needed as much capital as possible.

The company survived this financial crisis.

The Lightyears

In 2012, Roadsters production stopped, and the focus was on producing Model S. Tesla bought a 5.3-million-square-foot plant from Toyota for $42 million to begin Model S production.

The Roadster had three versions in 2007, 2011, and 2013 but the Model S luxury sedan came with a different structure.

Model S had its battery pack underneath, which created more space at the rear compared to Roadster. This structure improved its handling due to its low center of gravity.

The 2012 car is aimed at entering the mainstream consumer market, unlike the Roadster which is seen as the billionaire's play toy.

The model received several automotive and environmental awards,a near-perfect score of 99 out of 100 from Consumer Reports, which also named it “the best car ever tested.”

Tesla’s Superchargers Station

Superchargers station, its first freestanding charging station, was introduced on September 24, 2012, with six stations opened in California. Today, it operates more than 45,000 supercharger stations at over 5,000 sites worldwide, including 1,966 in North America, 985 in Europe, and 2,069 in the Asia/Pacific region.

From 2014, autopilot drive was available in Model S and subsequent products.

Tesla released the Model X, a vehicle built on a car chassis but with features of a sport-utility vehicle in 2015. The crossover vehicle has a maximum battery range of about 340 miles (547 km) and seats up to seven.

In April 2015, Tesla entered the energy storage market, unveiling its Tesla Powerwall and battery packs. The company received orders valued at $800 million within a week of the unveiling.

Tesla bought Solar City in August 2016 for $2.6 million and entered the photovoltaics market. From this moment, they could directly make their equipment.

The Roadster maker launched the Model 3 as an affordable sedan for the mass consumer market in 2016. Tesla aimed to own a product line of Model S, E, X.  Originally named Model E, Model 3 became its official name because another company threatened to sue them over rights.

Musk, excited by the sales prospect of the car, announced that the second half would deliver 200,000 vehicles in 2017. Model 3 became an all-time bestselling plug-in electric car worldwide and the first to sell 1 million units globally in June 2021.

Tesla opened its first Gigafactory in 2016 outside Reno, Nevada. Gigafactories are where Tesla produces its batteries and vehicles. It built these large factories in Buffalo, New York, and Shanghai, China, and more Gigafactories were planned.

Tesla batteries can last 300,000 to 500,000 miles, with major companies now using them for their projects. Grohmann Automation was acquired for 109.5 million in January 2017.

Tesla also acquired companies such as Riviera Tool, Perbix, Compass Automation, Hibar Systems, and German ATW Automation for their automation expertise, along with Maxwell Technologies and SilLion for battery technology.

In 2017,Tesla Motors changed to Tesla because they’re no longer just a car company; they’re a provider of energy solutions across many sectors. They deal with electric vehicles, battery energy storage systems, and solar power generation.

Conflict and Lawsuits

Tesla has faced over 1000 lawsuits.

Eberhard’s got a fight in him. He sued Tesla for forcing him out of the company, including libel and slander, in June 2009.

Musk's failed prediction of Model 3 delivery cost them 5%, that’s over $2 billion in 2017 as investors began to dump their stocks. The company blamed supply chains. It soon became the bestselling electric car.

Further problems came for Tesla in August 2018 when Musk tweeted that he was planning to take the company private at $420 and that he’s secured funds for that. Investors began to trade their stock before the privatization buyback occurred.

The stock price went up by 10%.

And SEC fined the company and Musk for misleading information and ruled that Musk's tweets must now pass through the company’s attorney.

The company removed Musk as Director of the Board, and Robyn Denholm took over, but Elon remained Tesla’s CEO.

Cost of Tesla and Vision 2020

Tesla released another crossover, the Model Y, in 2020. The Model Y was smaller and less expensive than the Model X and shared many of the same parts as the Model 3.

Tesla Semi Truck came into the market in 2022. PepsiCo, Disney, Mecca, and Sons are among its customers. The electric trucks can go 0-60 mph in five seconds without cargo and in 20 seconds while carrying 80,000 pounds of cargo. It has an innovative cabin design with impact-resistant glass. And can travel 400 miles on a 30-minute charge.

Tesla Cybertruck is an upcoming all-electric pickup soon to be released in 2023. The under $40,000 exoskeleton design truck will come in three variations, with battery ranges of 250, 350, and 500 miles. The truck's speed is 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

Tesla plans to release a new version of its classic Roadster model, offering a 0-60mph time of 1.9 sec with 737 lb-ft of torque.

Cost Of Tesla’s Vehicles

How much does a Tesla cost?

  • Model S $88,490, Plaid $108,490.
  • Model 3 $53,240, LR $47,240 Wheel Drive $40,240
  • Model X $98,490, Plaid $108,490
  • Model Y LR $50,490, Performance $54,490, All Wheel Drive $47,740

Tesla’s Annual Revenue Since 2008

  • 2008    $15 million

  • 2009    $112 million

  • 2010    $117 million

  • 2011    $204 million

  • 2012    $413 million

  • 2013    $2.01 billion

  • 2014    $3.2 billion

  • 2015    $4.05 billion

  • 2016    $7 billion

  • 2017    $11.76 billion

  • 2018    $21.46 billion

  • 2019    $24.58 billion

  • 2020    $31.54 billion

  • 2021    $53,823 billion

  • 2022    $81.46 billion

Bottom Line

The number one electric vehicle company now faces competition from BYD, General Motors, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz as the shift to greener vehicles continues. Tesla has changed how cars are made yet has not slowed down on its innovations.

The company’s market cap, which once hit the trillion dollar mark, will be back there in a few months as we’re sure of an eventful 2023.