bring the Electric Car to Roads Near You
A Great American Success Story
For many of us, Tesla Motors is synonymous with the introduction of the electric car. Yet there is much more to the story. Tesla Motors may be well-known for popularizing modern electric vehicles, but the company is no stranger to controversy when fighting the good fight to make automobile history.
The History Behind Tesla Motors
Tesla’s story began back in 2003, a mere decade ago. A group of risk-taking engineers from Silicon Valley set out on a mission to prove that electric cars could be the mainstream vehicle choice of this generation.
Since the early years, Tesla Motors has faced tough critics. The company worked hard to beat the odds and turn the automotive industry on its head, challenging traditional vehicle manufacturing and ownership. The reason that Tesla inntovators worked so hard to turn the tide by commercializing the electric car was to benefit drivers, the economy, and the environment.
More accurately, Tesla Motors goes hand-in-hand with a sustainable energy future.
According to Tesla founders, Tesla Motors has one simple goal: “To accelerate the world’s transition to electric mobility with a full range of increasingly affordable electric cars.”
“It’s more than electric, it’s Tesla.”
Besides revolutionizing the electric car in modern America, Tesla has another notable accomplishment under its belt. Tesla was the first new automaker in the US to turn a profit in several decades. In spite of the recent recession, Tesla has thrived. Innovative electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors has quickly become a household name
Speaking of names, where did the company get their catchy name from? Original Tesla Motors founders Mark Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard honed in on the name Tesla for their cutting-edge auto company as a tribute to the inventor himself, Nikola Tesla.
In just a decade, Tesla
Motors has grown to
- more than 12,000 employees
- with 31 store and service locations worldwide
- Tesla cars are driven in over 37 countries
Nikola Tesla lived from 1856 to 1943 in Serbia and the US. He was a well-known inventor and engineer, credited with inventing AC power transmission and the induction motor. Tesla Motors founders believed that Nikola Tesla’s inventions paved the way to a bright future for their company.
According to Tesla Motors: “Without Tesla’s vision and brilliance, our car wouldn’t be possible.”
In fact, we all have Tesla to thank for many of the modern conveniences we enjoy today. Tesla created the alternating current (AC) electrical system that is used to power every home on earth. Even though Thomas Edison is often praised for “inventing” the light bulb, he actually combined the ideas and inventions of a number of men before him that contributed to the light bulb’s design and functionality.
In his early career, Tesla worked for Thomas Edison, though many consider the two rivals:
Tesla actually worked for Edison early in his career. Edison offered to pay him the modern equivalent of a million dollars to fix the problems he was having with his DC generators and motors. Tesla fixed Edison’s machines and when he asked for the money he was promised, Edison laughed him off and had this to say: “Tesla, you don’t understand our American humor.”
Without the work of Nikola Tesla, the vision that has supported the success of Tesla Motors wouldn’t be what it is today. Tesla Motors took Nikola Tesla’s spirit of invention and ran with it to bring the modern electric car to the masses.
To fully appreciate how Tesla Motors has turned the tables in auto manufacturing, it helps to better understand what the electric car is all about. What makes a car electric? How does it compare to a gas-powered vehicle?
Why would you want to drive an electric car anyway?
Simply put, an electric car runs with an electric motor instead of a gasoline engine. The major attraction of an electric car – and the reason that Tesla Motors has focused their company entirely on electric vehicles – is in how it benefits the environment.
Check out this helpful comparison between electric and gasoline vehicles:
- No tailpipe emissions
- ±100 Mile range
- Hours to recharge
- 2 cents per mile
- Greenhouse gases
- 300+ Mile range
- Minutes to refuel
- 12 cents per mile
Make no mistake – an electric car is distinctly different from a hybrid vehicle.
An electric car is powered completely by electricity, while a hybrid runs with a combination of gasoline and electric power sources to ofer improved fuel efficiency.
Tesla Motors has gone “full electric” in their vehicle design and manufacturing because it provides the greatest benefit to the environment.
Driving electric cars in the US could reduce total carbon dioxide emissions by 30%. While there are other manufacturers around the world that have introduced electric vehicles (EVs) for this purpose, including Mitsubishi in Japan and Think Global in Norway, Tesla Motors remains the top EV contender in the US.
Tesla Motors may be most famous for introducing the first completely electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, in 2008. Today, there are more than 2300 Roadsters driven emission-free in 37 countries around the world. And the innovation doesn’t stop there – read on to find out more about the Tesla Motors electric car lineup that brought “vehicles of the future” to roadways across the US.
If you’re ready to go electric, you may be wondering what Tesla Motors has to offer. We’ll let the cutting-edge vehicles in the Tesla electric car lineup speak for themselves:
The 2010 Roadster came with a price tag of $109,000
- The first vehicle ever produced by Tesla Motors was a ground-breaking, all-electric sports car in 2008.
- The Roadster was also the first entirely electric highway-ready vehicle that was mass-produced in the United States.
- Likewise, the Roadster was the first car to hit the road running on lithium-ion batteries.
- The sporty Roadster was known for its lengthy charge compared to other EVs in production at the time; the Roadster battery offered travel at close to 245 miles before a charge was needed.
It should come as no surprise that the Tesla Roadster made a splash in the automotive world – in 2006, it was recognized as the winner of Time Magazine’s “Best Inventions 2006—Transportation Invention” award. Tesla Roadster production ended in 2012, and next-generation production is expected to begin within five years.
- 3.7Seconds to 60 mph
- 245Miles per charge
- 0tailpipe emissions
Ranging price from $57,400-$77,400
- The Tesla Model S was first available for sale in mid-2012.
- The 2012 Model S was constructed with an aluminum space frame and sold with 160, 230, or 300 mile battery packs, ranging in price from $57,400-$77,400.
- The Model S was advertised for its remarkable responsiveness and agility thanks to a low center of gravity.
- Tesla designed the Model S to combine a zippy sports car with a reliable sedan.
- Model S sales hit 18,000-20,000 a year in 2013.
Though electric vehicles were once thought of as slow compared to their gas-powered counterparts, the Model S motor runs with an advanced electric powertrain and one moving part – a rotor. This simplified engine design offers superior acceleration with travel at up to 60 miles an hour in 5.4 seconds, without using gasoline. It’s no wonder that the Model S received a slew of recent awards, including the 2013 Car of the Year from Automobile Magazine, the 2013 World Green Car, and the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year.
- 5.4Seconds to 60 mph
- 125top speed (mph)
- 0tailpipe emissions
- Compared to the popular Model S, the Model X will share roughly 60% of its parts components.
- Two different battery packs may be available with the new Model X at either 60 kW or 85 kW per hour.
- Tesla advertises the Model X as a uniquely designed SUV/minivan compilation with electric car performance.
- Optional Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive is also available to increased torque by 50% for all-road, all-weather safe driving.
- According to Tesla, the Model X outperforms the fastest SUVs on the road today.
The long-awaited Tesla Model X was introduced in 2012 with production planned for 2013. As 2013 rolled around, production was rescheduled for late 2014 in order to bring the company into profitability in 2013. Tesla has accepted reservations for the Model X for 2014 delivery on the official website; new Model X reservations guarantee delivery in 2015.
0-60 mph in under 5 seconds
Clearly, Tesla takes electric car design seriously. Tesla Motors has crafted their vehicles with the following standout features:
21st Century electric powertrain design offers instantaneous acceleration.
Lightweight Front Suspension
Provides better wheel control.
Smart Air Suspension
Lowers vehicle while accelerating for improved aerodynamics and longer range.
Electronic Power Steering
Offers automatic reaction to driving conditions in real-time.
Longer Battery Life
Lithium-ion battery options provide improved thermal management, energy density, and safety on-the-road; battery life estimates range from 230-300 miles when traveling at 55 mph.
Charging available at any location with 240 V or standard 120 V wall outlets, as well as public charging stations.
All Glass Panoramic Roof
Model S sedan roof is entirely constructed from lightweight safety glass to mimic a convertible driving experience.
Retractable Door Handle
Retractable door handle design minimizes drag while driving.
Offers tech-forward, driver-friendly features through a touchscreen dashboard with mobile connectivity.
Vehicles are built without a tail pipe, eliminating harmful exhaust.
What does the future hold for Tesla electric car innovation?
After raking in award after award, Tesla can’t be stopped. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed that Tesla will introduce a more affordable sedan and a smaller SUV within the next few years, in addition to their current lineup.
As of late, Tesla production has focused solely on the Model S and Model X. Musk has been quoted as saying that a half-price sedan (compared to the Model S) may be introduced within 3 to 4 years, followed by a smaller SUV afterward. Musk estimates prices as low as $35,000.
Tesla is also at the forefront of self driving car technology. It is going to change the world as we know it. There are still many hurdles to clear but they will be worked out over time. It is going to change the types of auto insurance coverage that insurance companies offer. Some may be eliminate while others may be added. There will certainly be a bureaucratic process between the government and insurance companies.
Of course, Tesla Motors doesn’t offer the only electric vehicles on the road. If you’re wondering how Tesla stacks up against other leading electric cars, take a gander at this.
comparison between the 2011 Tesla Model S and 2011 Nissan Leaf:
2011 tesla model s
- 3,825 lbs / 70 kWh
- 160/ 230/ 300 miles*
- 120 mph / 5.6 secs
- 45 Mins (440 Volts)1.5 Hrs (240 Volts)3 Hrs(120 Volts)
- Weight / Battery Capacity
- Miles on Single Charge
- Top Speed / 0-60 mph
- Charge Time
- 3,366 lbs / 24 kWh
- 100 miles
- 90 mph / 10.2 secs
- 7 Hrs (240 Volts)20 Hrs(120 Volts)
In addition to manufacturing and retailing its own vehicles, Tesla Motors also functions as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). This simply means that Tesla Motors produces electric vehicle powertrain components that can be purchased and sold by other auto manufacturers.
Tesla works in partnership with the following companies:
Daimler and Tesla collaborated in 2007 to include Tesla lithium-ion batteries and charging technology in the first 1000 Daimler electric smart cars produced; more collaboration is expected in the future.
Toyota and Tesla partnered in electric car development in 2010 with the intention of collaborating on electric vehicles, parts, engineering, and production in the future. Joint venture development included the 2012 electric Toyota RAV4.
Panasonic and Tesla worked together in 2010 to create a nickel-based lithium-ion battery for electric cars, under the umbrella of Panasonic’s billion-dollar investment in lithium-ion research, development, and production.
Palo Alto, California, is the home of Tesla Motors with facilities located in:
The first Tesla retail store opened in Los Angeles in 2008 with multiple store locations throughout the US to follow, including New York City, Chicago, Boulder, Denver, and Orange County. The Tesla Factory is located in Fremont, California, in the former NUMMI assembly plant.
The European headquarters of Tesla Motors are located in Maidenhead, UK. Tesla stores and galleries have since expanded to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and more.
The first Australian Tesla Motors showroom opened in 2010 in Sydney. Both the Roadster and Model S were sold in Australia for as much as A$206,188 and A$120,000 respectively.
Tesla Motors entered the Asian market in 2010 by opening its first showroom in Japan. As of 2011, a Hong Kong branch of Tesla Motors was established. The Hong Kong showroom also serves as a design studio that allowsbuyers to customize their vehicle with touchscreen technology before purchase.
You’re right if you assume that Tesla Motors production is currently taking over the world. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has described this takeover as his “secret plan” to convert world transportation systems into electric mobility.
A number of countries have embraced the electric transportation model simply due to cost savings. Even though an electric car can cost more in an initial investment, depending on the vehicle, you have the potential to save money every time you bypass a gas station on the road.
In a comparison with the 2012 estimated cost of fuel at $3.80 a gallon when driving a gas-powered car at an average of 22 mpg, Tesla shows considerable savings when driving an electric car.
No More Gas Stations
Cost of Fuel
National average is $3.80 per gallon as of 8/12.
A comparable gas powered sedan averages 22 mpg.
Total fuel cost
Tesla model S
Cost per KiloWatt Hour
The national average is $0.11 per kilowatt hour.
For the average driver, driving long-distance in an electric car is still a reality.
Tesla battery packs offer long driving distances at up to 300 miles with the potential to recharge half the battery life in a quick pit stop. Full charging for all Tesla vehicles is done overnight in 110 V and 240V outlets in as little as one hour and six minutes. (240 V outlets charge faster and are recommended.)
Tesla Motors has come a long way, baby.
Here are some standout milestones in Tesla Motors’ dynamic, decade-long history:
Tesla Motors was established by cofounders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.
Tesla Motors was established by cofounders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.
Tesla Motors and British sports car manufacturer Lotus created a product and service agreement based on the Lotus Elise design; Lotus offered Tesla design, development, and production input.
Customers began paying deposits for the first 100 Tesla Roadsters anticipated for release in 2007; George Clooney paid $100,000 to secure one of the first Roadsters in production.
A disagreement with Musk forced cofounder Eberhard out of the company. Tesla Roadster production was delayed for further testing.
The Tesla Roadster was introduced as an electric sports car. Musk was named CEO.
Tesla Motors took out a $465 million government loan to fund Model S production.
Tesla Motors purchased the vacant NUMMI plant for $42 million, as well as existing plant equipment for $17 million. Tesla stock began trading on NASDAQ at $17 a share.
Tesla Motors revealed $154.3 million in losses in 2010.
Tesla Motors launched the Model S sedan; Tesla confirmed Model X small SUV production for early 2014.
Tesla Motors paid back its $465 million government loan nine years early –the only American automaker that has repaid the government in full.
Tesla Motors announced growing sales volumes at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2014; Tesla shares immediately jumped 10%.
10 Fun Facts About Tesla Motors
- After Ford, Tesla Motors stands as the second oldest publicly listed automaker in the US.
- As an automaker, Tesla Motors broke the mold by setting up headquarters in California instead of the traditional auto manufacturing hub of Detroit, Michigan.
- Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is the second Silicon Valley man to overtake three companies with more than $1 billion valuations (PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors).
- Tesla CEO Musk divides his time between SpaceX and Tesla Motors 50/50.
- The Tesla Roadster is hand-built from riveted-extruded, resin-bonded aluminum to incorporate strength, rigidity, and lightweight design.
- The Tesla Model S is recognized for having the largest panoramic sunroof and lowest drag coefficient in any production car.
- The Tesla Model S meets roof crush resistant standards at twice NHTSA requirements; the Model S roof actually broke the roof crush testing machine used by the NHTSA!
- The Model S was designed with the largest touchscreen dashboard available in any production vehicle at 17 inches.
- The Model S was the first electric car to receive the highly coveted Motor Trend Car of the Year Award in 2013.
- The Tesla Supercharger network is one of the fastest charging networks available, offering half a battery charge within just 20 minutes.
Granted, Tesla Motors’ history isn’t all sunshine and roses. Tesla has had its share of ups and downs, as well as several lawsuits to contend with:
Tesla sued Fisker Automotive in 2008, alleging that the company stole Tesla Motors’ design ideas and confidential information related to hybrid/electric car development. Tesla lost the case in 2008.
In 2008, Magna International sued Tesla for outstanding payment after Tesla used Magna to help design the Roadster’s 2-speed transmission. Since then, the Tesla Roadster has excluded the Magna transmission design.
After being forced out of the company in 2009, cofounder Eberhard sued Tesla for slander, libel, and breach of contract; he later dropped the case after a settlement was reached.
Tesla attempted to sue the BBC TV show Top Gear for libel in 2008 when the Roadster was driven in an episode. Tesla claims that the vehicle use was staged to lose a charge while cameras were rolling. Tesla lost the case and has since appealed in a second unsuccessful lawsuit.
Rio Real Estate Investment Opportunities
Rio Real Estate of New Mexico alleged that Tesla agreed to hire them to build a 150,000 ft.² factory in 2007, contingent on a $135 million per year lease over a 10 year span. Tesla ultimately decided to produce the Model S in the former NUMMI plant in California; Rio Real Estate filed a suit against Tesla in 2012.
State of Texas
Tesla lost their fight to secure a dealer license in Virginia since Tesla Motors sells vehicles in stores that don’t meet state franchise, factory-owned dealership laws. Tesla will have to wait until 2015 to apply for the same exemption in Texas; currently, Tesla showrooms in Austin and Houston cannot technically sell vehicles.
Tesla was also forced to issue a safety recall in 2009 for 345 Roadsters that were produced prior to April 22, 2009. Technicians personally visited customers to adjust rear, inner hub flange bolts that could affect driver control over the vehicle.
Another Tesla recall was made in 2010 for the 12 V low-voltage auxiliary cable in 439 Roadsters. After learning that the auxiliarycable could chafe against carbon fiber panel in the vehicle to cause a short with the potential for fire, Tesla recalled the Roadsters to protect against a fire hazard.
Tesla Motors versus The New York Times
As a successful company in the public eye, Tesla Motors has become familiar with its share of criticism. But nothing could prepare Tesla for the backlash from a negative New York Times review published in early 2013.
The review was simply titled “Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway.”
For Tesla, this negative review came as a major blow. In a nutshell, The New York Times reviewer claimed that the Tesla Model S underperformed within its estimated range. CEO of Tesla Elon Musk believes that this unfavorable review cost Tesla Motors upwards of $1 million in their stock value within just a few days.
According to Musk, “We did actually get a lot of cancellations as a result of The New York Times article.” After The Times story claimed that the Model S fell short of the advertised 300 mile charge range in a cold-weather test drive, Musk was quick to call the story a fake. Musk stands firm against what he calls a “false review,” even writing his own rebuttal to defend Model S performance based on extensive testing done in high temperatures in Death Valley, as well as on pure ice in Minnesota.
Headlines referred to the exchange as the “New York Times versus Tesla feud.” The controversy was finally laid to rest when The New York Times issued its own rebuttal. An updated article confirmed errors in precision and judgment in the original review piece that maligned both Model S performance and new Tesla Supercharger stations on the East Coast.
In spite of the recent bad press, Tesla Motors is standing on solid ground. The company now has a whopping $20 billion market value, which is virtually unheard of for a 10-year-old auto manufacturer. Tesla currently makes a mere 1% of Ford’s monthly sales, yet the company has reached close to one third of Ford’s $64 billion market value.
For those familiar with Tesla’s commitment to excellence and ground-breaking history, Tesla Motors represents an American dream come true. Tesla Motors was founded as a humble startup in Silicon Valley in the new millennium. It has since grown into a billion-dollar auto manufacturing company that has led the way in the electric car revolution.
What is Tesla’s secret to success in beating out the competition, especially traditional gas-powered car manufacturers?
Customers agree that Tesla is known to over-deliver in all advertised vehicle specifications. While many automakers fudge exact mpg estimations or qualify with fine print, drivers have tested Tesla vehicles time and again to confirm that advertised driving range is indeed a reality.
Tesla Motors continues to shine in its commitment to innovation. Though numerous automakers hope to introduce EV’s into a competitive marketplace, Tesla has already broken the mold and left rivals in the dust.
Tesla has completely thrown out the traditional and often-offensive car dealership model (though this still continues to pose a problem in some states). Tesla also focuses on long-lasting customer service, far after a vehicle has been purchased.
Tesla Superchargers for Model S drivers are available for free travel throughout North America in roughly 65 stations; coast-to-coast travel was offered as of winter 2013.
80% of the US and parts of Canada will be served in 2014; 98% of the US and parts of Canada will be served by 2015.
The greatest evidence of Tesla customer support can be seen in the new Supercharger network being implemented throughout the US. This allows owners of Tesla vehicles to drive for free through the country without having to worry about inconvenient charging or lack of charging ports altogether.
By pioneering a high-performance electric car for every driver, Tesla has made automotive history.
Tesla doesn’t plan to stop there. The latest 2013 Model S is now available for order, with accolades like 2013 Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. The 2013 Model S offers 4.2 seconds at 0-60 max acceleration with up to 265 miles in EPA certified range. In addition to boasting zero emissions, the roomy sedan offers 5+2 available seating.
CEO Elon Musk has already made mention of Tesla vehicle innovations anticipated in the near future, including a cheaper sedan and a smaller SUV. In a 2013 TESLive conference devoted to Tesla electric vehicles, Musk revealed that Tesla’s three main goals for the future included the introduction of a European Model S, building more Supercharger stations throughout the US, and preparing for Model X crossover SUV manufacturing.
Musk also projected that 800 cars a week will be sold by the end of 2014.
But what about diehard Tesla devotees still driving the beloved Roadster?
Unfortunately, Tesla Supercharger stations are only compatible with the Model S, but CEO Musk confirms that Roadster drivers can expect some extra attention from Tesla developers within the next year – though new Roadster innovations have not yet been confirmed.
Future Tesla designs may even include an electric truck.
As an automotive pioneer, Tesla Motors has proven that electric vehicles can stand the test of time in speed, performance, and longevity. Tesla itself has picked up speed as a rapidly growing automaker with increasing profits year after year. While the jury is still out as to when every driver in the US will operate an electric vehicle, Tesla Motors is history in the making. Electric vehicles have become mainstream within the past decade; much of this EV popularity can be attributed to Tesla’s spirit, vision, and excellence in electric car design.
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