In the fast moving world of electric vehicles it feels like Tesla has been around forever. Yet, they are still a very young company. It is amazing that in just a few years, a new start-up electric car manufacturer has taken over the world (and Twitter). What is it about the Tesla cars that makes them so special? Where will the company go next in their pursuit of world domination? I will be exploring this here.
Tesla – A Brief History of the EV Giants
Although Elon Musk is absolutely synonymous with the whole Tesla brand, he was not one of the original founders of the company. Yes, it’s true. However, in fairness, he was present before the first Tesla, the Roadster, was released.
Tesla was incorporated in 2003 as Tesla Motors Inc by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Their original goal was to become a car manufacturer that was also a technology company. The centre of their technology plan being the battery, computer software and a proprietary motor. Looking back on this mission statement, we can say that they have pretty much nailed it (and then some). However, a couple of decades ago, a world-beating battery electric car was a pipe dream that many couldn’t see being commercially successful. So much changed so quickly.
Of course, the main man associated with Tesla, Elon Musk, came into the picture in 2004 and took an instant front seat in the development of Tesla’s first electric vehicle. Having invested many millions of his newly acquired wealth from the sale of PayPal, and being retrospectively named as a co-founder (a lawsuit was involved), Elon Musk had a lot riding on the success of Tesla. His reputation as well as his money was on the front line.
The Roadster and the Tesla Electric Car Are Born
Elon Musk took an active role in the development of the Tesla Roadster, the first electric car from Tesla. His passion about the technology and determination to succeed was evident from this early stage.
The strategy with the first release was to build a sports car that would be highly desirable for early adopters. This wasn’t the right stage for mass markets. It was a shrewd plan of action. Get those who were passionate about the idea of an electric car involved and then build on from that. There is a possibility that a mass market Tesla would have fallen flat at the first hurdle. If that had happened, then it would almost certainly have been the end of Tesla as we know it.
The very first Tesla Roadster was revealed to the public in July 2006 and it turned heads from the outset. Production started on the Roadster in 2008 and by January 2009, 147 Tesla Roadsters had been delivered. Tesla was off and running.
Finding a Home and Developing the Model S
2010 was a significant year in the history of Tesla. Well, one of the significant years in this period. It was when their famous base factory in Fremont, California, was purchased from Toyota. This factory would see the glorious boom at the start of the electric vehicle revolution that we are all grateful for. In fact, Tesla still uses this factory for manufacture and development of their products.
The next major year for Tesla was 2012. This was the year that, to the dismay of its fans, the Tesla Roadster production ceased. However, the second Tesla car, the Tesla Model S, was launched. Possibly the most important car in the history of electric vehicles, and still being made today, the Tesla Model S would show exactly what these battery powered cars were capable of. The world was ready to listen.
Originally built with the 65kWh and 85kWh batteries, the Tesla Model S was able to go much further than most people believed was possible. The range that these vehicles achieved got people to believe that living with electric cars as a real alternative to petrol or diesel machines. Once this happened, there was no turning back.
The Model X Makes an Appearance
After the Tesla Model S became a success and was showered with awards, it was only a matter of time before Elon Musk followed up this great success story. September 2015 saw the rollout of the Tesla Model X. An SUV crossover that combined the great technology of the Model S with the space that was required by some new electric car fans.
Of course, the Tesla Model X also had some gimmicks up it’s sleeve that would entice people in. The unusual gull wing doors and the ability to dance is something that really appealed to fans, young and old alike. It was still an electric car, but it was also very different to what Tesla had achieved in their short history.
Number Four… Eventually
Tesla announced that their fourth car to be released would be called the Tesla Model 3 (allegedly Tesla wanted to call it a Model E but could not obtain the rights to use that name). The Model 3 was advertised as being a car that would be a lot cheaper than the vehicles that had previously come out. This would be a car that would be for the masses, and it would go on to be the biggest selling car model in the world.
However, things did not start off so smoothly. Tesla encountered many problems in production. This was a rare dark period for the company and even led to Tesla being one of the most shorted companies on the stock market. Shorting on the stock market, for those who don’t know, means that people are betting against the company. They profit from their shorting if the company goes bust.
Thankfully these issues were overcome and the Tesla Model 3 made its way into the world at the end of 2018. Go anywhere in the western world and you are likely to see a Tesla Model 3 in abundance. The gamble worked and the Tesla Model 3 broke many sales records around the globe.
Completing the S3XY Lineup
It was perhaps surprising, given the delays and issues experienced in bringing out the Tesla Model 3, that the company would release their fifth vehicle quite so soon after. However, that is exactly what happened. 2020 saw the rollout of the Tesla Model Y.
Elon Musk finally completed his risque named lineup (which was intentional by the way) and yet another amazing electric car went out into the world. The Tesla Model Y, along with the Model 3, would dominate worldwide sales of electric vehicles.
This latest addition was another more affordable car from Tesla. Whereas the Model 3 was a slightly smaller and more affordable version of the Model S, the Tesla Model Y would be a slightly smaller and more affordable version of the Model X. Now there was a choice for everyone.
Tesla Beyond the Cars
Elon Musk may be madder than a box of frogs, but he is a genius. His vision and drive is absolutely exceptional, and it doesn’t stop at the Tesla cars either. Mr Musk has turned his hand to many different fields and he is seeing success in them all. Whether that is in the battery technology, solar power, power storage or even going into outer space, there seems to be no limits to what he can achieve.
Of course, as stated at the beginning, Tesla is a company that is still in its infancy, relatively speaking. It is absolutely astonishing that they have achieved so much in such a short amount of time. I cannot wait to see what comes next from Tesla, and I’m sure I am not alone. Will Elon Musk be the first person to put an EV charger on the moon? I wouldn’t bet against it. Would you?