The Success Story Of Tesla Motors And Elon Musk


The US electric car market witnessed its advent with the entry of Tesla Motors. Despite having competitors like Ford and Chevrolet, Tesla Motors dominates the electric car market. The company came into limelight with the production of its flagship car, the S model in 2013.

Not only did the Tesla cars score high among car buyers, the company, but Tesla Motors gained fame too. It earned the name of a successful independent automaker as well as came to be known as the pioneer in the electric car market.

Receiving titles like ‘the best car ever tested,’ the S model achieved a perfect 99 out of 100 from Consumer Reports after it was launched. 

The flagship car, a sleek and luxurious Sedan, ranging from $69000 was showered with the highest ratings from the trade industry as well as the press. Tesla Motors made headlines and received accolades from the trade press as soon as the Model S was floated in the market.

Almost 2,500 Tesla cars were sold by September 2014. By Q1 2015, the sales reached 10,030. As of 24 May 2015, $31.3 billion was the market capitalization of the electric plug-in car.

Tesla Motors is not considered to be a start-up anymore but a pioneer in the market of electric cars.

The company didn’t reach such heights overnight. The electric car company was set up by two engineers of Silicon Valley Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard in 2003. The website of the company says that the launch was aimed at proving that electrically driven cars are better than cars that run by gasoline. 

The company history starts from 1990 when Tarpenning came across Eberhard, Stanford University’s engineer. Sharing a common interest in starting a new company, in 1998, the duo launched the Rocket E-book.

Eberhard discovered his passion for autos after he faced divorce and bought a sports car. Although he was skeptical about the electric car market, he made investments on an electric auto maker company AC Propulsion.

The duo met Elon Musk in 2001 after his speech at Stanford University’s Mars society talk. On introducing themselves with Musk, the duo learnt that he has a successful history of launching new companies.

Elon Musk founded PayPal along with his partners Max Levchin Peter Thiel. In 2002, eBay bought the company. With the profit of the sale, Elon Musk started the company Space X, a designer, manufacturer as well as a launcher of rockets and spacecraft.

However, Eberhard and Tarpenning met Elon Musk again after a few years to discuss their electric car concept with him.

Officially, Tesla came into being in 2013 to manufacture a perfect electric car with no emissions. The co-founders of Tesla Motors are Tesla’s CTO JB Straubel and Ian Wright. Wright stepped down from the company in 2004 to launch another company, Wrightspeed.

The early stages of investments were carried out in 2004 by the c-founders. Elon Musk gained the spotlight a year later after he joined as the board of directors and took part in the initial funding.

About Elon Musk 

Although the face of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk is neither a founder nor a co-founder of the company. Born in South Africa, a Canadian-American, Musk grew up to be an engineer. He pursued a dual bachelor of science in Economics and science from the University of Pennsylvania.

An inventor and entrepreneur to its core, Elon Musk enrolled himself in the Ph.D. program of Applied Physics at Stanford University. However, he discontinued soon to focus on his business related to renewable energy and outer space.

Several small but triumphant businesses were started by Musk thereafter which included Zip2, an online publishing company. With the profits of the company, he started an online bank, This was later acquired by Confinity which had set up PayPal, the online payment company.

Highly successful, Paypal was bought by eBay in 2002 which left Elon Musk with a share of $165 million.

Soon Elon Musk launched his third company, SpaceX with the profit he made. He also got involved as one of the board of directors of Tesla Motors. He played a major role in raising capital for the company. The investors included friends, family, and VC firms.

Tesla’s graph kept going up between 2004 to 2008. It also manufactured the Roadster, Tesla’s first automobile, during that period. Previously owned by General Motors and Toyota, Tesla Motors built its manufacturing plant in a factory of 5.5 million square feet located in Fremont, CA. 

Known as Nummi, the factory has two paint facilities and assembly lines measuring 1.5 miles.

Elon Musk assumed the chair as CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors in 2008. The same year the Roadster was launched. The executive summary of the car highlights that focus was laid on Roadster’s design and mechanics. It is known to travel 0-60mph in less than 3.9 seconds. Up to 100,000 miles, Roadster’s maintenance is zero excluding tires.

Tesla Motors has been focusing on the manufacture of electric cars. More than 80 galleries and stores are now spread across Europe, North America, and Asia. It has above 100 stations for charging in the US. 

One of the trademarks of Tesla Motors is that it focuses on only one product at that particular time. 

Tesla Motors has spread its wings in California and the Netherlands and Lathrop to stay active in the market.

According to forecasts of analysts, the entire global sale of electric cars was 3,20,0000 in 2014.

Commenting on Tesla’s goal of selling 5,00,000 cars by 2020 Adam Jones the auto analyst of Morgan Stanley called it unrealistic. He had also said that the sales are to go down by 40 %.

In the electric car market, Tesla Motors is successful in creating its own space by taking one step at a time. It has established not only as the pioneer but also as the best electric car company.