Tesla Motors other co-founders were Martin Eberhard -- a sports car enthusiast who had co-founded and founded startups Network Computing devices Inc. and NuvoMedia (manufacturer of the Rocket ebook), respectively – Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright, all of whom have since left the company.
Wright has since founded Wrightspeed and is endeavoring to create his own high performance vehicles to compete with Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche.
Tesla Motors intends to spark the public's passion and eco-conscience for electric vehicles. Founded in 2003, the company designs, manufactures, and markets high-performance electric cars and powertrain components. Tesla stylish Roadster is its flagship model, which the company continues to upgrade. The Roadster's operating specs include zero to 60 in less than four seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. The fuel-efficient, fully electric vehicle recharges its lithium-ion batteries from an outlet, and, depending on a driver's speed, is capable of 245 miles per charge. Roadsters are based on Lotus' Elise model; their UK assembly is shifting to a California facility. In mid-2010 Tesla became a publicly-held company.
"The idea was to land a vehicle with a greenhouse on Mars and establish life there. The problem was finding a rocket. It would have cost about half a trillion dollars for one mission; rockets are not reusable. To make life multiplanetary, you need a transport system that's fully and rapidly reusable. That would lead to a dramatic reduction in costs. In 2002, I started SpaceX to solve those problems."
Meanwhile company founder and chief executive Elon Musk, age 38, has been in and out of the news. He founded PayPal before selling it to eBay in 2002. He also runs rocket company Space Exploration Technologies and is chairman of solar power business SolarCity. He's engaged to British actress Talulah Riley
Musk believed that the auto industry had too much financial and psychic investment in the engine to admit that the 19th-century technology had outlived its usefulness. Tesla, however, could jump-start the electric car era and help solve the problem.
The company’s inaugural product—the $109,000 Tesla Roadster—was due to begin production in September 2007, but an internal audit done over the summer revealed that the cost to actually build the car had climbed to $140,000. It was a money-loser before a single unit had been delivered.
The Obama Administration will lend Tesla Motors $465 million to build an electric sedan and the battery packs needed to propel it. It's one of three loans totaling almost $8 billion that the Department of Energy awarded Tuesday to spur the development of fuel-efficient vehicles.
The Tesla Model S Beta is the first mass-market electric car produced by the company, whose headquarters are in Palo Alto, CA. The first Model S Beta units will be on the streets in 2012, and the company has taken orders for more than 6,500 pre-orders, selling out completely. VentureBeat recently visited the Palo Alto facility, and we got to test ride the new Model S.
What makes the Model S different from the company’s earlier vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, is that it looks like a regular sedan, and is built to seat seven people, five adults and two kids. It’s also priced like a normal car, starting at about $49,000. By contrast, the Tesla Roadster was a two-seater sports car and had a sticker price of $112,000 and up
Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 as Silicon Valley's solution to the nation's energy problem. If a struggling Detroit could not make an electric vehicle, then a Silicon Valley start-up would.
Tesla priced its initial public offering at $17 a share in late June 2010, raising about $226.1 million in the first stock debut of a car maker since the Ford Motor Company held its initial public offering in 1956.
The company unveiled its first car in 2006 after raising $150 million and going through four years of technological and internal struggles. Sold to the likes of Larry Page, the Google co-founder, and George Clooney, the $100,000 Roadster is a two-seat sports car described by the company's chairman as "wicked fast."