Tesla was founded in 2003 by two separate groups that merged since they were more likely to succeed in gaining financing by working together. While both groups attempted to commercialize, a prototype electric sports car was created by AC Propulsion. Initially, Chairman of Tesla Motors Elon Musk was the primary investor. Much of the company's primary financing came from his own personal funds.
The long term goal of the company was to create affordable, mass market electric vehicles. Since college, Musk had a goal of commercializing electric vehicles. He wanted to start with a premium sports car that would be marketed to early adopters, and then use the revenue generated to move into mainstream sedans and compact cars for the more mainstream mass market. He also wanted to produce enough electric vehicles so there would be a significant effect on the consumption of oil by drivers.
Tesla Through The Years
Tesla's first dealership opened in West Los Angeles in April 2008. Within three months, a second dealership soon followed in Menlo Park, Calif. The following year, the company expanded across the country and opened showrooms in nine cities. The company also has a European headquarters in England, with the Roadster being manufactured by Lotus. The opening of the first European showroom in London occurred in 2009. Munich, Monaco, Zurich, Copenhagen and Paris all followed, while sales representatives can be found in other regions of Europe.
Tesla was completely funded by private investors until 2009, when almost $190 million was raised with 147 cars produced. In June 2009, Tesla received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund the production of the new sedan and also the powertrain components to be sold to other car manufacturers. The company achieved profitability within one month. In June 2010, Tesla launched its initial public offering on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation (NASDAQ). This made Tesla the first American car company to go public since Ford in 1956.
The first car produced by Tesla was the Roadster, which was officially launched in July 2006. The Alternating Current (AC) Induction motor used within the Roadster was derived directly from designs produced by Nikola Tesla in 1882. It was the first production vehicle to run on lithium-ion batteries, as well the first electric vehicle with a range larger than 200 miles or 320 km per full charge. These cars come with a hefty price tag, but follow the ideology of the company of creating a premium sports car for early adopters. This would allow Tesla to optimize the technology for the highest profit before cascading it down into inexpensive mainstream vehicles. Initial production of the Roadster was done in batches of 100, with the first selling out in less than three weeks. The second group of 100 Roadsters sold out by October 2007, with general production of the car beginning in March 2008. Through 2009, 500 of the initial Roadsters were produced.
Two new models of the Roadster have been introduced since then. In January 2009, Tesla took orders for the Roadster Sport. Based on the initial model, this was a higher performance car with an even higher price tag. The first Roadster Sports were delivered to owners in July 2009, which was the tie when production began on the 2010 model Roadster. This was the first major upgrade that Tesla had carried out on the vehicle. Tesla continued to sell Roadsters until the supply of chassis from Lotus ran out. In total, there were 2,500 Roadsters produced by Tesla.
Tesla Products and Technologies
The Model S is the sedan that Tesla developed in 2012. At half the price of the Roadster, the Model S is marketed as an alternative to the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars. Customers have the option to choose from three different battery packs with different range lengths between charging.
Not only does Tesla create its own cars, but it is an original equipment manufacturer. As such, other car manufacturers can buy parts from Tesla and use them within their own vehicles, marketed under their own name. Tesla supplies electric vehicle powertrain components, and has signed contracts with Daimler and Toyota. The first thousand Smart cars produced by Daimler in 2007 were powered using lithium-ion battery packs and charging electronics created by Tesla. In 2010, Toyota and Tesla announced they were collaborating on electric vehicle design and production.