Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors

infobox company
company_name = Tesla Motors, Inc.
company_type = Private
foundation = 2003
location = San Carlos, California, USA
key_people =
Ze'ev Drori (CEO)
Michael Marks (former CEO)

Martin Eberhard (co-founder)

Marc Tarpenning (co-founder)

Elon Musk (Chairman)

JB Straubel (CTO)
industry = Automotive
products = Tesla Roadster
num_employees = 250 +
homepage = http://www.teslamotors.com/
slogan = Burn rubber, not gasoline
Tesla Motors, Inc. is a Silicon Valley automobile startup company focusing on the production of high performance, consumer-oriented battery electric vehicles.cite web | url = http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6124789175148491596 | format = Flash video | title = Martin Eberhard of Tesla Motors speaks to the Motor Press Guild | author = Martin Eberhard | date = 2007-08-07 | accessdate = 2008-06-22 ] The firm was incorporated in July, 2003 by engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in San Carlos, California.

Tesla Motors is named after electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla. cite web | url = http://www.teslamotors.com/learn_more/why_tesla.php | title = Why the Name "Tesla"? | publisher = Tesla Motors | accessdate = 2008-06-10 ]

Financing and organization

The initial, Series A investment round of USD$7.5 million was led by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk in April 2004 and included Compass Technology Partners. Musk became Tesla's Chairman of the Board and in February 2005, led Tesla Motors' second, USD$13 million Series B investment round which added Valor Equity Partners to the funding team. Musk co-led the third, USD$40 million Series C round in May 2006 along with VantagePoint Venture Partners. Tesla's third round included investment from prominent entrepreneurs including Google co-founders Sergey Brin & Larry Page, former eBay President Jeff Skoll, Hyatt heir Nick Pritzker and added the VC firms Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson, Capricorn Management and The Bay Area Equity Fund Managed by JP Morgan.

The fourth, Series D round in May 2007 added another USD$45 million and brought the total investments to over $105 million USD through private financing. Elon Musk, who was President of PayPal before it was bought by eBay, has contributed $37 million of his own money to the company. In August, 2007 Martin Eberhard was replaced by an interim CEO, Michael Marks. In December 2007, Ze'ev Drori became the permanent CEO and President of Tesla Motors. cite web | url = http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=124272 | title = "Stealth Bloodbath" Roils Tesla Motors | author = Anita Lienert, Correspondent | publisher = Edmund's Inside Line | date = 2008-01-11 | accessdate = 2008-02-08 ] In January 2008, Tesla Motors fired several key personnel who had been involved from the inception after a performance review by the new CEO.cite web | url = http://www.teslamotors.com/blog2/?p=52 | title = The Next Leg of the Race | date = 2007-08-15 ]

Current models

Tesla Motors' first production vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, is an all-electric sports car. According to test results from an EPA certified laboratory, the car has a range of 221 miles (356 km). The company and reviewers state that the Tesla Roadster accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h) in less than 4 seconds, and has a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h) (limited for safety). The cost of powering the vehicle is estimated at US$0.02 per mile. cite web | url = http://www.time.com/time/2006/techguide/bestinventions/ | title = TIME Best Inventions 2006]

Prototypes were introduced to the public in July 2006, and the Tesla Roadster was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in December 2006 as the recipient of the magazine's "Best Inventions 2006 - Transportation Invention" award. Demand has been high for the first "Signature One Hundred" set of fully equipped Roadsters, which sold out in less than three weeks, [ cite web | url = http://www.megawattmotorworks.com/display.asp?dismode=article&artid=293 | title = Tesla Roadster ‘Signature One Hundred’ Series Sells Out | publisher = Megawatt Motorworks ] and the second hundred sold out by October, 2007. As of May 2 2008, more than 600 Tesla Roadsters have been reserved and 400 more are on the waiting list.cite news | publisher = AutoWeek | date = 2008-05-02 | url = http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080502/FREE/422389269/1023/rss01&rssfeed=rss01 | accessdate = 2008-05-05 | title=Tesla opens first dealership in Los Angeles ] The first production model was delivered to Elon Musk, Chairman of the Board, in February, 2008 and general production began on March 172008. cite web | url = http://www.teslamotors.com/blog2/?p=57 | title = We have begun regular production of the Tesla Roadster | publisher = Tesla Motors | date = 17 March 2008 | accessdate = 2008-03-20 ]

olar panel

Tesla plans to offer home roof mounted solar-photovoltaic systems through SolarCity, another Elon Musk-funded company, that will offset power used by the home charger, allowing 50 miles (80 km) of travel per day without burdening the power grid.

Planned models

Tesla is also currently working on a sedan, originally code-named the "WhiteStar" and now known as the Model S, which will be introduced as a 2010 model. [ [http://www.engadget.com/2008/06/30/tesla-announces-the-model-s-a-60k-all-electric-five-passenge Tesla announces the Model S: a $60k, all-electric, five passenger sports sedan - Engadget ] ] It is being designed as an alternative to cars such as the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6, with an estimated price of $60,000. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was present at the unveiling of this new model and was on hand to announce that the Model S would be built in a new plant in the San Francisco Bay Area. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/30/BATH11GGP2.DTL&hw=tesla&sn=001&sc=1000 Tesla to build new electric sedan in Bay Area ] ] As of yet no pictures have been released on this model.

Future plans include a more affordable third model. The development and production of this future model, code-named "BlueStar", will be funded by profits from the Model S sedan. According to Tesla, if everything goes according to plan, BlueStar will be released in 2012 and cost around $30,000. [ [http://www.hybridtactics.com/category/tesla-bluestar BusinessWeek profiles Tesla Motors] ]


Tesla Motors' headquarters are located in San Carlos, California, where much of the development of the Tesla Roadster occurred.


Tesla Motors has facilities in England related to the design and assembly of the Tesla Roadster.

The Tesla Roadster is currently being assembled by Lotus Cars in Hethel, England.


Tesla Motors has facilities in Taiwan for motor production. These will be used in the Tesla Roadster and the Tesla WhiteStar.

United States

The first Tesla store opened in Los Angeles, CA in April 2008. A second store opened in Menlo Park, California in July 2008.

The Michigan Technical Center, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan, opened January 26, 2007. It is a convert|19240|sqft|m2|sing=on facility located at 1840 Enterprise Drive. Approximately $47.7 million will be spent on tooling.

The primary focus of the facility is on research & development for future Tesla products. The first priority is the four-door electric sports sedan project codenamed “WhiteStar”. It will be a four door, five-passenger, lightweight, high-performance sedan planned for production around 2010.

BlueStar, the more-affordable third model, will also be developed here.

The region has an existing base of automotive companies, facilities and engineering talent, with thousands of highly experienced automotive experts. Utilizing these existing resources will reduce costly investments for Tesla Motors.

The company announced on June 30, 2008 that it will not build a manufacturing plant in New Mexico as originally planned. Instead, California was able to offer sufficient incentives to enable the manufacturing plant to be built in California. No other details were released at that time.

Service Centers

Service Centers for the Tesla Roadster are planned for the following United States Metropolitan Areas:

* Los Angeles, California - 11163 Santa Monica Blvd [ cite web | title = Now Open: It's Electric! Tesla Motors in Santa Monica | url = http://la.racked.com/archives/2008/05/05/now_open_its_electric_tesla_motors_in_santa_monica.php | date = 5 May 2008 | author = Tasha Nita Adams | authorlink = http://www.blackburnandsweetzer.blogspot.com/ | publisher = Racked LA | accessdate = 2008-06-22 ]
* San Francisco Bay Area, California - 300 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, California [ cite web | url = http://www.paloaltodailynews.com/article/2007-8-2-mp-tesla | title = Elecrifying move: Tesla Motors plans to set up hub in Menlo Park | accessdate = 2008-06-22 | first = Banks | last = Albach | date = 2 August 2007 | publisher = Palo Alto Daily News ]
* New York, New York
* Miami, Florida
* Chicago, Illinois
* Seattle, Washington

Tesla Motors has stated that it will build additional service centers over the next few years in order to support sales of its next vehicle, the sports sedan currently codenamed the Tesla WhiteStar. "To do 10,000 units for WhiteStar, we need to be in a lot more places," said Darryl Siry, Vice President of Marketing.

Planning is currently underway for an additional fifteen service centers in major metropolitan locations. [ cite web | url = http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/04/05/solving-the-car-propulsion-problem/ | title = Solving the Car-Propulsion Problem | work = Pogue’s Posts - Technology | first = David | last = Pogue | publisher = New York Times ] There are currently no planned service center locations outside of the United States.

There is minimal maintenance required of an electric vehicle. There are no oil changes and brake maintenance is minor due to regenerative braking. Transmission, brake, and cooling system fluid changes will be required as for gasoline-engine cars.


Tesla uses several domestic and overseas suppliers and partners.

The brakes and airbags of the Tesla Roadster are made in Germany, while the chassis is made in Norway. [ [http://www.forbes.com/technology/2007/03/18/tesla-electric-car-tech-cz_ec_0319valleyletter.html?partner=rss Can Silicon Valley Reinvent The Car? - Forbes.com ] ]

Tesla Motors licensed AC Propulsion's Reductive Charging(tm) patent, which integrates the charging electronics into the inverter in a way that reduces mass and complexity. Tesla Motors has designed and builds its own power electronics, motor, and other drivetrain components that incorporate this licensed technology from AC Propulsion.

Tesla has a significant relationship with Lotus Cars. A design contest was held for the final styling of the Tesla Roadster, then codenamed "Dark Star", which Lotus's design studio won. The Roadster includes several components from the Lotus Elise like the windshield and air bag systems, but neither the chassis nor any of the body panels are sourced from Lotus Cars. The chassis design licensed from Lotus, based on the Elise chassis, was built using the same Lotus software tools used to build the Elise chassis, and is built by the same Norwegian manufacturer. Similarly, the body panels were designed under contract by Barney Hatt of Lotus Design Studios in cooperation with Tesla, but are manufactured from carbon fiber by a third party vendor. Final assembly of the Tesla Roadster is done at Lotus Cars in Hethel, England by both Lotus and Tesla employees.

Tesla Motors has supposedly inked some sort of technology deal with Daimler [ [http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/electric-vehicles-get-a-30m-charge-1008.html Greentech Media | Electric Vehicles Get a $30M Charge ] ] .


In March 2008 it was announced that Tesla had filed a lawsuit against Fisker Automotive, saying that Henrik Fisker "stole design ideas and confidential information related to the design of hybrid and electric cars". Tesla hired Fisker to design the WhiteStar sedan but decided against the design as it was deemed "substandard" according to Tesla chairman Elon Musk. [ cite web | url = http://www.autoblog.com/2008/04/15/tesla-files-suit-against-fisker-automotive/ | publisher = Autoblog | title = Tesla files suit against Fisker Automotive ]

Also in March 2008, Magna International filed a lawsuit against Tesla claiming that it was never paid for services rendered. Tesla hired Magna to help design a 2-speed transmission for its Roadster (a transmission they decided not to use). [ cite web | url = http://www.autoblog.com/2008/04/16/tables-turned-tesla-motors-sued-by-transmission-supplier-magna/ | publisher = Autoblog | title = Tesla Motors Sued By Transmission Supplier Magna ]

Tesla Energy Group

Interest in Tesla Motors' battery technology led to the formation of a division called the Tesla Energy Group. Think Global was to be the first customer, placing an order for development and delivery of battery packs for their electric cars. However, Tesla put their plans on hold due to delays in production and engineering, and Think has accordingly found a new battery supplier, EnerDel.cite press release | publisher = Tesla Motors | date = 2007-05-22 | url = http://www.teslamotors.com/media/press_room.php?id=509 | title = Tesla Energy Group, a New Division of Tesla Motors, Signs Development and Supply Agreement Worth $43 Million with Think of Norway ]


Tesla Motors is named after Nikola Tesla, an inventor, electrical engineer and scientist. The principal visionary and inventor of the alternating current induction motor and polyphase system of electrical distribution, Tesla's designs and ideas changed the world, providing a stable means of delivering electricity over enormous distances; the "War of Currents" with Thomas Edison over this issue went on for years with Tesla and George Westinghouse ultimately triumphing. The Tesla Roadster's power plant is basically a three-phase Tesla AC induction motor.

Board of Directors

* Elon Musk - Chairman of the board of directors, former President of Paypal, founder and CEO of SpaceX
* Ze'ev Drori - CEO of Tesla Motors
* Ira Ehrenpreis - General Partner, Technology Partners
* Antonio J. Gracias - CEO and Chairman of the Investment Committee at Valor Equity Partners
* Jim Marver - Co-founder and managing partner, VantagePoint Venture Partners
* Kimbal Musk - CEO of Medium, Inc.
* Larry W. Sonsini - Chairman, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
* Steve Westly - Former Controller for California and founder of The Westly Group


External links

* [http://www.teslamotors.com/ Official Tesla Motors website]
* [http://edcorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=1862&author=253 Distribution plan for the new Electric Car] , Martin Eberhard speaks at Stanford
* [http://www.channel4.com/4car/news/news-story.jsp?news_id=14656 Channel 4 news story] (contains speculative material and rumors)
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/cars/story/0,,1855488,00.html The Guardian newspaper on the Tesla Roadster]
* [http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/08/tesla_motors_ev.php Tesla Motors: Affordable Electric Cars are Coming]
* [http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/08/tesla_roadster.php Tesla Roadster: The Electric Car that Redefines "Power" (Part 1)]
* [http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/08/tesla_roadster2.php Tesla Roadster: New Power to the People (Part 2)]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/inbusiness/inbusiness_20060921.shtml Plug in Cars] In Business, Radio 4, September 2006
* [http://www.greenvehiclenews.com/content/view/400/28/ Green Vehicle News on the Tesla Roadster]
* [http://www.latimes.com/classified/automotive/highway1/la-hy-neil29nov29,0,7930203.story?coll=la-home-headlines Tesla Roadster review] by L.A. Times' Pulitzer-winning auto critic Dan Neil
* [http://usfmbapodcast.com/2007/01/28/13-ceo-of-tesla-motors-the-fastest-electric-car-on-earth/ USF MBA Podcast, Jan 28th, 2007] Audio presentation by Tesla's Co-Founder & CEO
* [http://www.newsweek.com/id/55405 Green Dream: The Electric Tesla Roadster] An October 2007 update from Newsweek.com
* [http://epicfu.com/2008/06/tesla-supercar-how-to-get-chea.html Video interview of Elon Musk by Zadi Diaz of EPIC FU] , weekly web show that covers online pop culture (June 17, 2008)

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