BECAUSE THE FUTURE IS ALREADY HERE !
E L E C T R I C C A R S
Serbian-American engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) made dozens of breakthroughs in the production, transmission and application of electric power. He invented the first alternating current (AC) motor and developed AC generation and transmission technology. Though he was famous and respected, he was never able to translate his copious inventions into long-term financial success—unlike his early employer and chief rival, Thomas Edison.
(formerly named Tesla Motors) is an American automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California. The company was initially founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, although the company also considers Elon Musk, JB Straubel, and Ian Wright as its co-founders.The company specializes in electric cars, lithium-ion battery energy storage, and, through their SolarCity subsidiary, residential solar panels.
Tesla first gained widespread attention following production of the Roadster, the first electric sports car, in February 2008. The company’s second vehicle, the Model S, an electric luxury sedan, debuted in June 2012 and is built at the Tesla Factory in California. The Model S has been the world’s best-selling plug-in electric car for two years in a row, 2015 and 2016.Its global sales achieved the 150,000 unit milestone in November 2016, four years and five months after its introduction.As of December 2016, the Model S ranks as the world’s all-time second best-selling plug-in after the Nissan Leaf. The Model S was then followed in September 2015 by the Model X, a crossover SUV. Tesla’s fourth vehicle that is designed for the mass-market is the Model 3,which was unveiled in March 2016 and its production started in July 2017 with a base price of US$35,000, before any government incentives.
As of December 2016, Tesla has sold over 186,000 electric cars worldwide since delivery of its first Tesla Roadster in 2008, making the carmaker the second largest global pure electric car manufacturer after the Renault–Nissan Alliance. For two years running, 2015 and 2016, Tesla ranked as the world’s second best selling manufacturer of plug-in electric cars after BYD Auto. Musk, the CEO, has said that he envisions Tesla as a technology company and independent automaker,aimed at eventually offering electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer.
Tesla has a network of high-powered Superchargers located across North America, Europe and Asia for Tesla vehicles.The company also operates a Destination Charging program, under which shops, restaurants and other venues are offered fast chargers for their customers. Although Tesla operates a number of production and assembly plants, the company’s most iconic facility is the Gigafactory 1 near Reno, Nevada, where Panasonic builds 21-70 cells for Tesla batteries. Tesla also manufactures the Tesla Powerwall, Powerpack batteries, solar panels (in varying form factors) and solar roof tiles for home and industry applications.
The beginnings: Roadster and private funding
The company was incorporated as Tesla Motors in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning who financed the company until the Series A round of funding. The founders were influenced to start the company after GM recalled and destroyed all of its EV1 electric cars in 2003.
Musk led the Series A round of investment in February 2004, joining Tesla’s board of directors as its chairman as well as in operational roles, but Eberhard remained as CEO. Musk was the controlling investor in Tesla from the first financing round, funding the large majority of the Series A capital investment round of US$7.5 million with personal funds. Tesla’s early primary goal was to commercialize electric vehicles, starting with a premium sports car aimed at early adopters and then moving as rapidly as possible into more mainstream vehicles, including sedans and affordable compacts for the mass market,serving “as a catalyst to accelerate the day of electric vehicles”.
Tesla signed a production contract on July 11, 2005, with Group Lotus to produce “gliders” (complete cars minus powertrain).The contract ran through March 2011, but the two automakers extended the deal to keep the electric Roadster in production through December 2011 with a minimum number of 2,400 units.
Musk led Tesla’s Series B US$13 million investment round. Musk co-led the third, US$40 million round in May 2006. Tesla’s third round included investment from prominent entrepreneurs including Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The fourth round in May 2007 added another US$45 million and brought the total investments to over US$105 million through private financing.
In late 2007, Tesla brought on Michael Marks,and later Ze’ev Drori, to replace Eberhard as CEO. Drori was able to temporarily return the company to profitability, reducing the company’s workforce by about 10% to lower its burn rate. In May 2008, The Truth About Cars launched a “Tesla Death Watch”, as Tesla needed another round of financing to survive. In October 2008, Musk became CEO and laid off an additional 25% of Tesla’s workforce. Drori became vice-chairman, but then left the company in December. In December a fifth round added another US$40 million, avoiding bankruptcy.
By January 2009, Tesla had raised US$187 million and delivered 147 cars. Musk had contributed US$70 million of his own money to the company. Elon Musk owns a 20.8% stake in the company as of March 2017. The prototype Model S was displayed at a press conference on March 26, 2009. On May 19, 2009, Germany’s Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz, acquired an equity stake of less than 10% of Tesla for a reported US$50 million,]in effect saving Tesla. Toyota provided a similar amount in 2010.
In June 2009 Tesla was approved to receive US$465 million in low-interest-bearing loans from the 2007 US$8 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program by the United States Department of Energy, while Ford got $5.9 billion, and Nissan got $1.6 billion. The funding came in 2010, and supported engineering and production of the Model S sedan, as well as the development of commercial powertrain technology. Tesla repaid the loan early and with $12 million in interest in May 2013, and was the first of the automakers to repay.