Tesla -Story Behind the World's Most Valuable Car Brand

Sarika Anand Sarika Anand
Mar 4, 2022 17 min read
Tesla -Story Behind the World's Most Valuable Car Brand

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Tesla.

Tesla, recognized as the world's most valuable automaker, and makers of clean energy, is one of the most admired companies in the world, for many reasons. Be it the unique features of Tesla vehicles, Tesla's Supercharger network that has simplified charging for electric vehicles, or because of its charming CEO, Elon Musk, Tesla has gained immense popularity.

Elon Musk, Martin Eberhard, JB Straubel, Marc Tarpenning, and Ian Wright launched Tesla Inc. as Tesla Motors in 2003. The company's name is a nod to Nikola Tesla, the scientist.

Tesla - Company Highlights

Startup Name Tesla, Inc.
Formerly Called Tesla Motors, Inc. (2003–February 2017)
Headquarters 3500 Deer Creek Road, Palo Alto, California, United States
Industry Automotive Industry, Battery Energy Storage, and Photovoltaic Systems
Founders Elon Musk, Martin Eberhard, JB Straubel, Ian Wright, and Marc Tarpenning
Founded July 1, 2003
Number of Locations 598 retail stores/galleries and service centers (2021)
Areas Served North America, Europe, Oceania, East Asia, West Asia, and South Asia (2022)
Current CEO Elon Musk
Website www.tesla.com

About Tesla
Tesla - Industry
Tesla - Name, Logo, and Tagline
Tesla - Founders
Tesla - Startup Story
Tesla - Mission and Vision Statement
Tesla - Partnerships
Tesla - Subsidiaries
Tesla - Business Model and Revenue Model
Tesla - Funding and Investors
Tesla - Investments
Tesla - Growth
Tesla - Competitors
Tesla - Challenges Faced
Tesla - Future Plans

About Tesla

Tesla, develops, produces, rents, and distributes electric automobiles, as well as energy generating and storage solutions, in the United States, China, and across the world. Automotive and Energy Generation and Storage are the company's two segments.

The Automobile section sells automotive regulatory credits as well as electric cars. Tesla sells sedans and sport utility vehicles directly and through used car sales. Tesla's network of Superchargers offers 480 volt direct current fast-charging stations across the world, that lets you charge your electric vehicles easily. Tesla's automotive segment also offers buy-financing and leasing options. By downloading the Tesla app, Tesla vehicle owners can connect their smartphones to their cars and access a wide array of features. Through the Tesla app, one can access his Tesla vehicle and energy products from anywhere.

This segment also provides non-warranty after-sales automotive assistance, as well as the sale of used vehicles, retail merchandise, and vehicle insurance, as well as the sale of products to third-party customers through its subsidiaries, services for electric vehicles through company-owned service locations, and Tesla mobile service technicians, and vehicle limited warranties and extended service contracts.

Through its online platform, stores, and galleries, as well as a network of channel partners, the Energy Generation and Storage segment designs, manufactures, installs, sells, and leases solar energy generation and energy storage products and related services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers and utilities. This sector also provides servicing and maintenance for its energy product clients, including under warranty, as well as a variety of solar financing alternatives.

Tesla Motors, Inc. was the company's previous name until February 2017, when it changed to Tesla, Inc. Tesla, Inc. is based in Palo Alto, California, and was created in 2003.

Tesla is unlike any of its peers. Tesla can address challenges differently than traditional automakers because it has done all of its software development in-house and has essentially grown up as a software and tech firm first, and an automotive second.


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Tesla - Industry

The international electric motor market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 26.8% from 4,093 thousand units in 2021 to 34,756 thousand units by 2030. Many companies are now manufacturing electric vehicles all over the world due to factors such as rising demand for low-emission transportation and governments encouraging long-range, zero-emission vehicles through subsidies and tax refunds. Countries all throughout the globe have established emission reduction objectives based on their respective capabilities, which have resulted in increasing demand for electric vehicles all over the world.

Established firms such as Tesla (US), BYD (China), Volkswagen AG (Germany), BMW Group (Germany), and Nissan Motors(Japan) lead the electric vehicle market. These businesses also provide a wide range of products and services to the automobile sector. These corporations have extensive global distribution networks and invest extensively in R&D to generate new goods.

Tesla - Name, Logo, and Tagline

Company Logo of Tesla
Company Logo of Tesla

It has long been assumed that Tesla's logo symbolizes the cross-section of an electric motor initially conceived by the company's namesake, scientist, and inventor Nikola Tesla, rather than merely a fancy 'T.'

Elon Musk revealed to a curious Twitter user that the Tesla logo is meant to reflect the cross-section of an electric motor. The primary body of the "T" appeared to depict one of the poles that protrude from a motor's rotor, with the second line on top symbolizing a part of the stator, according to Elon Musk.

Tesla's tagline says, "To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport and electric technology."

Tesla's slogan says, "Ride Free."

Tesla - Founders

Elon Musk, Martin Eberhard, JB Straubel, Ian Wright, and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla in July 2003.

Elon Musk

Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla - Elon Musk
Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla - Elon Musk

Musk co-founded Tesla and is still in charge of the company's product strategy, which includes the design, engineering, and production of more and more economical electric automobiles for ordinary folks. For the past two decades, Elon has been enthralled by electric vehicles. He worked briefly on ultracapacitors at Pinnacle Research in Silicon Valley after getting bachelor's degrees in physics and business from the University of Pennsylvania to grasp their potential as an energy storage method for electric vehicles. He intended to pursue doctoral studies in materials science and applied physics at Stanford, but he put his studies on hold in order to launch the Internet firms Zip2 and PayPal. He is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, as well as the Chairman of SolarCity, in addition to his Tesla responsibilities.

JB Straubel

JB Straubel is the Co-Founder and CEO of Redwood Materials, a Nevada-based firm that is creating a sustainable future by developing circular supply chains, converting trash into profit, and preventing new product environmental consequences before they occur. JB spent 15 years with Tesla as a co-founder and CTO before launching Redwood in 2017. JB established one of the greatest engineering teams in the world at Tesla, where he oversaw cell design, supply chain, and the original Gigafactory idea all the way through the Model 3 production ramp. From prototype automobiles to mass production and GWh-scale, JB was directly involved in R&D, team creation, and operational expansion. JB graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science in Energy Systems Engineering and a Master of Science in Energy Engineering.

Marc Tarpenning

Clearpath Robotics, a developer of autonomous vehicles for industrial research and development, has Marc Tarpenning on its advisory board. He also serves as an advisor to a number of other businesses. He was previously a mentor at Greenstart.

Marc is a Spero Ventures Venture Partner. Before joining Greenstart, he was an entrepreneur in residence at Mayfield Fund. Prior to that, he co-founded Tesla Motors and served as its vice president of engineering. He also worked with Packet Design, NuvoMedia, and Gemstar-TV Guide as an executive.
Tarpenning graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor's degree in computer science.

Martin Eberhard

Martin Eberhard is an engineer, a seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and a 17-patent inventor. Eberhard completed a BS in Computer Engineering and an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1982 and 1984, respectively. He was recently honored by The University of Illinois with the Distinguished Alumni Award and an Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.
Tesla Motors was formed in 2003 by Eberhard and his colleagues, and Eberhard served as its CEO until November 2007.

Eberhard worked for Volkswagen for two years after leaving Tesla Motors as Director of EV Development. He has given talks all around the world about the reasons and ways for decreasing carbon emissions, the advantages of the electric drive over alternative automobile technologies, and entrepreneurship, and the need for more young people to pursue science and engineering degrees and careers. He presently sits on the boards of directors and advisory boards of many early-stage Silicon Valley startups.

Ian Wright

Ian Wright is a New Zealander by birth. In 1993, he moved to California, where he lived next door to Tesla creator Martin Eberhard. Wright became one of the founders of Tesla. He worked with optical switching systems at Altamar Networks until the company went out of business, after which he chose to create his own.

Tesla currently works with a workforce of over 99K employees. The employee strength of Tesla has seen an increasing graph. It had only 899 employees when reported on December 31, 2010.

Tesla - Startup Story

Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning launched Tesla (as Tesla Motors) on January 1, 2003, in San Carlos, California. After General Motors recalled all of its EV1 electric cars in 2003, the founders were encouraged to create the firm. The tzero, and electric sports car manufactured by the US-based company AC Propulsion, was the inspiration for the Roadster, the company's first automobile.

Ian Wright came on board as the third employee a few months later. In January 2004, the three started seeking funding and met Elon Musk, who provided US$6.5 million of the original (Series A) US$7.5 million round of investment and became chairman of the board of directors in February 2004. Eberhard was then named CEO by Musk. J.B. Straubel was hired as the fifth employee in May 2004. Eberhard and Tesla reached a court settlement in September 2009 that permits all five co-founders (Eberhard, Tarpenning, Wright, Musk, and Straubel) to use the term "co-founder."

Musk took an active part in the firm, overseeing the Roadster's product design in great detail. Musk was the one who insisted on a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer body from the start, and he directed the design of components ranging from the power electronics module to the headlights and other aesthetics, according to Eberhard. Musk earned the Global Green 2006 product design prize, awarded by Mikhail Gorbachev, for his design of the Tesla Roadster. He also received the 2007 Index Design award for his design of the Tesla Roadster.


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Tesla - Mission and Vision Statement

Tesla's vision is to β€œcreate the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world's transition to electric vehicles,” while its mission is β€œto accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”

Tesla - Partnerships

Panasonic is a prominent Tesla partner and the company's primary battery cell developer.

The following is a list of alleged main suppliers for Tesla's manufacturing production, as well as the components they provide:

  • AGC Automotive: windshields
  • Brembo: brakes
  • Fisher Dynamics: power seats
  • Inteva Products: instrument panel
  • Modine Manufacturing Co.: battery chiller
  • Sika: acoustic dampers
  • Stabilus: liftgate gas spring
  • ZF Lenksysteme: power steering mechanism

Tesla - Subsidiaries

In Total Tesla has acquired 9 companies. Following are 5 major subsidiaries of Tesla

Solar City Corp.

SolarCity was created in 2006 by two cousins of Elon Musk, namely Peter and Lyndon Rive. Musk was the one who came up with the idea for the firm, as well as provided the initial operating money and served as its chairman. SolarCity produces, installs, and sells solar energy systems, as well as solar-generated power. Tesla announced in August 2016 that it has finalized an agreement to buy SolarCity, with the deal set to close later that year.

Maxwell Technologies Inc.

The business was established in 1965. It specializes in ultracapacitors, which are energy storage devices that can hold several times more energy than normal capacitors. Its products are utilized in transportation, industrial, and grid energy storage, among other applications. Tesla purchased Maxwell in May 2019. Musk has previously stated that ultracapacitors will be a game-changer in the manufacturing of electric automobiles.

Grohmann Engineering GmbH

Klaus Grohmann created Grohmann Engineering in 1963 in Germany. The firm specializes in automated manufacturing system design and development. When Tesla announced its acquisition of Grohmann in November 2016, the company had 700 workers and had grown at a 6% annual pace over the previous 20 years. In January 2017, Tesla paid $135.3 million for the company.

Perbix Machine Co. Inc.

Perbix is a company that specializes in developing and producing specialized, highly automated production equipment. It was formed in 1976. Tesla bought the company in 2017. Tesla had bought Grohmann Engineering, a German-based company in a similar field, earlier in 2017. With the purchase of Perbix, Tesla will be able to manufacture more of its car parts in-house, giving them greater control over auto manufacturing. The acquisition was another move in Tesla's drive to streamline and speed the production process of its electric vehicles, after the Grohmann acquisition.

Hibar Systems Ltd.

Hibar Systems was formed in 1974 in Canada. The firm specializes in high-precision dispensing pumps and filling systems, such as automated vacuum filling systems for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. Because Tesla made no statement about the transaction, it's unclear when it happened. According to multiple U.S. and Canadian outlets, In October 2019, Tesla showed Hibar as one of its companies in an October 2 file with the Canadian government. Tesla's interest in the company is very obvious. Hibar will enable the electric car manufacturer to develop its own battery cells. This decision will help Tesla reduce critical operational expenditures and reduce its reliance on Panasonic Corp., with which it owns and manages a Nevada-based battery manufacturing in partnership.

Below are the details of the 9 companies acquired by Tesla -

Acquiree Name About Acquiree Date Amount
Springpower Springpower is a manufacturing company providing clean cathode material to battery manufacturers. May 4, 2021 -
ATW Automation ATW Automation is a supplier assembling battery modules and packs for the auto industry. Oct 2, 2020 -
Hibar Systems Hibar Systems is an Ontario-based company that specializes in battery manufacturing. Oct 4, 2019 -
DeepScale DeepScale is a technology company that develops perceptual systems for semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles Oct 1, 2019 -
Maxwell Technologies Maxwell Technologies manufacturing and marketing energy storage and power delivery solutions for automotive. Feb 4, 2019 $218M
Perbix Perbix is a maker of highly automated manufacturing equipment. Nov 6, 2017 -
Grohmann Engineering Grohmann Engineering is a German engineering organization that specializes in electronics, automotive, biotech, life science. Nov 8, 2016 -
SolarCity SolarCity provides solar energy services to homeowners, businesses, government, and non-profit organizations Jun 22, 2016 $2.6B
Riviera Tool LLC Manufacturer of stamping die systems used to form sheet metal parts. May 8, 2015 -

Tesla - Business Model and Revenue Model

Tesla's business model was reinforced once the company established its brand and developed and delivered its prototype car to the market. Tesla's business model is built around a three-pronged strategy for selling, repairing, and charging its electric automobiles.

Tesla's business strategy prioritizes the installation of charging stations. That might be the most significant impediment to the widespread adoption of electric automobiles. Tesla's business model has been expanded to include energy storage devices for households and businesses. Tesla's sales and servicing are handled directly by the company, rather than via licensed dealerships.

Tesla sells directly to consumers, unlike other automobile manufacturers that sell through franchised dealerships. It has established an international network of company-owned showrooms and galleries, the majority of which are located in major cities. Tesla thinks that by owning the sales channel, it would be able to accelerate the development of its products. More significantly, it improves the purchase experience for customers. Tesla showrooms, unlike automotive dealerships, are free of possible conflicts of interest. Customers solely deal with Tesla sales and service representatives.

Tesla - Funding and Investors

Tesla has raised funding worth $20.2 Billion in 36 rounds. Below are some recent rounds of funding raised by the company.

Date Round Amount Lead Investors
May 9, 2020 Post-IPO Debt $565M Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Dec 23, 2019 Post-IPO Debt $1.4B -
Oct 6, 2019 Post-IPO Debt $700M China Merchants Bank
May 14, 2019 Post-IPO Equity $860M -
May 14, 2019 Post-IPO Debt $1.8B -
Mar 8, 2019 Post-IPO Debt CNΒ₯3.5B -
Aug 7, 2018 Post-IPO Secondary $2B -
Feb 2, 2018 Post-IPO Debt $546M -
Dec 7, 2017 Grant $2.3M Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Mar 28, 2017 Post-IPO Secondary $1.7B Tencent

Tesla - Investments

Date Organization Name Round Amount
Jan 20, 2018 Zola Electric Series D $55M

Tesla - Growth

Tesla has made quite a revolution in the automobile and vehicle industry. The Austin, Texas-based company designs and produces electric vehicles, batteries, solar panels, solar roof tiles, and numerous other related products and services. Tesla last recorded a market capitalisation of $900+ bn, and with this, it is hailed as one of the world's most valuable companies, along with being the most valuable automaker across the globe.

Tesla had captured 23% of the battery-electric (purely electric) market, and 16% of the plug-in market in 2020 by emerging as the company with the most worldwide sales of battery-electric and plug-in vehicles. Β 

Along with the cars that Tesla has developed, the company also developed the Tesla "Cybertruck", which is designed as the truck of the future.

Cybertruck is an upcoming all-electric battery-powered light commercial vehicle. Also known as Cybertruck, Cybertrk, Tesla Truck, it is designed by Franz Von Holzhausen, the man behind the famous models of Tesla like the Tesla Model S, Model X. Sahm Jafary was also involved in its designing. Originally announced in 2019, Tesla Cybertruck aimed to roll off the production lines by late 2021, however, due to some delays, it has been pushed to late 2022. This super truck is expected to be launched in India by December 2023. Β 

Cybertruck by Tesla

Features and Dimensions

Dimensions:

  • Length - 231.7 in (5,885 mm)
  • Width-79.8 in (2,027 mm)
  • Height - 75 in (1,905 mm)

Features:

  • Cybertruck is a commercial vehicle. It is an M-segment {European Segments for passenger described as "multi-purpose vehicle") and large - pickup truck for North America.
  • It has a rear-motor wheel drive, dual and tri-motor.
    Cybertruck has a full-width Led headlight bar, an auxiliary strip for off-road driving hidden at the top of the windshield.
  • The body is constructed of a thick sheet of stainless steel, which has been cold-rolled 30 times. It is scratch and dent resistant and can withstand a 9 mm-firearm round.
  • Cybertruck doesn't have a traditional hoop. It has a steering wheel model after the type of an aircraft Yoke with grips at 9 and 3 '0 clocks.
  • It offers a camping package that includes a polygonal tent to match its styling, a raised sleeping floor for the bed, and a slide-out electric stove, which runs off the battery pack.
  • It has a three-across front seating and a centre jump set that turns into an arrest when not in use.
    Cybertruck also has a covered bed with a trunk on the floor and a "frunk" under the hood, each of the rear roof butterness hides storage compartments beneath the doors.
  • The powdered bed is very strong and one can walk over it. It fully retracts into the space between the bed and the cabin when it is opened.


Specifications :-

  • 250kW + supercharging capability.
  • Autopilot, Adaptive, and Air suspension.
  • On-board 120 /240 VC
  • 100 cubic feet of storage space.
  • 6.5 ft long cargo area.

Tesla operates in over 40 countries with 3059+ superchargers, as was last recorded in October 2021. Tesla was expected to launch in India somewhere between 2022-2024, where the company might have made around 5 of the Tesla cars - Model 3, Model Y, Model X, Model S, and Cybertruck, available in India. However, this plan of foraying into the Indian market has been put on hold, as per the reports dated May 17, 2022. This is because Tesla wanted the Indian government to lower the import taxes, which the government rejected. Tesla has also acknowledged some hurdles that are there in the way of Tesla's India launch. The Elon Musk-headed company is now looking to foray into Indonesia for manufacturing, reports reveal. Β 

Tesla's revenue increased by 28% to roughly $31.5 billion in the fiscal year 2020, compared to 2019. Tesla's biggest market is the United States. Tesla's automotive business, which includes car design, manufacture, and sales, generates more than $27 billion in revenue for the firm. The Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model 3, and the new Tesla Y are among the range of electric cars offered by Tesla as of March 2020.

Tesla's automobile deliveries worldwide set a new high of 627,350 units in the first three quarters of 2021, up more than 16% from full-year 2020 sales. At the same time, Tesla's Model 3 has become the best-selling plug-in electric vehicle in the world. The Model 3 became the first electric car to sell one million units worldwide in June 2021.

Tesla has been at the forefront of the movement toward alternative powertrains in the consumer vehicle sector since going public in July 2010. Tesla's sales climbed to over $31.5 billion in 2020, making it the brand's most successful full financial year to date. In 2020, the company's market value surpassed previous highs, hitting $442 billion in September. By March 2021, the brand's market value had risen to $641 billion, more than six times its March 2020 market cap, before surging to $1 trillion in October of the same year. Tesla's stock price increased by almost 264% between October 26, 2020, and October 25, 2021.

Tesla - Competitors

Tesla's top competitors include:


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Tesla - Challenges Faced

Tesla has seen a range lawsuits filed against the company. Besides, numerous statements against the brand, and controversies surrounding the Tesla CEO and his talks, circulate throughout the year. Creative accounting allegations, whistleblower retaliation, worker rights violations, and numerous unresolved, dangerous technical defects involving the Tesla vehicles are there still.

Tesla has been developing self-driving software that may be used not only in its own cars but also by other automakers that wish to include autonomous driving capabilities in their vehicles. One issue is that other businesses are developing extremely powerful self-driving technology, maybe even ahead of Tesla's software. Alphabet's autonomous driving software is one example. Also, that translation isn't yet apparent in terms of selling this technology to other automobile makers.

Tesla auto-pilot mode has already met with numerous accidents, most of which still remain under the cover. This is the reason why NHTSA has ordered Tesla in September 2021, to submit all the data associated with the sold US vehicles that are fitted with the auto-pilot function. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has already been investigating traffic deaths involving the use of autopilot vehicles, which is what fueled this move.

Besides, competition is also growing for Tesla as more electric vehicle manufacturers are entering the market.

Tesla - Future Plans

Tesla is unquestionably more than a vehicle manufacturer. While Tesla's major focus remains on electric vehicles, Elon Musk and his excellent staff have been discreetly moving into other businesses.

Tesla also intends to produce a big number of automobiles. As expressed by Musk on Twitter, Tesla expects to produce 20 million cars per year by 2030, a quantity that would need "consistently superb execution." In a series of tweets, he predicted that the market for new electric vehicles will reach 30 million per year in five to seven years.

Musk has a big plan to get the globe to switch to sustainable energy. During his Battery Day talk, he explained how increased battery production might cover energy consumption and help the global shift to renewable energy sources. The idea is ambitious: switching all automobiles to electric would necessitate a 100-fold increase in output.

Tesla intends to increase its yearly manufacturing capacity to one million vehicles in 2021-22, with additional factories in Berlin, Germany, and Texas, USA, set to open around that time. Tesla's global car deliveries are predicted to increase by more than 50% each year on average starting in 2021, surpassing one million units in 2022.

FAQs

What does Tesla do?

Tesla, develops, produces, rents, and distributes electric automobiles, as well as energy generating and storage solutions, in the United States, China, and across the world. Automotive and Energy Generation and Storage are the company's two segments.

Who is Tesla named after?

Tesla is named after the scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla.

Who founded Tesla?

Elon Musk, Martin Eberhard, JB Straubel, Ian Wright, and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla in January 2003.

Who's the current CEO of Tesla?

Elon Musk is the current CEO of Tesla.

How does Tesla make money?

Tesla's business model is built around a three-pronged strategy for selling, repairing, and charging its electric automobiles.

Which companies do Tesla compete with?

Tesla's top competitors include Neo, Ford Motors Co., General Motors Co., Li Auto, Nikola Corp., Canoo Inc., Volkswagen, and BYD Company.

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