Tesla Motors: history and company profile

Everything you need to know about Elon Musk’s car company: from its history to its technologies, through models on sale and those under development

For car and technology enthusiasts, Tesla Motors certainly needs no introduction. In fact, the company has been synonymous with excellence for almost ten years now. Especially since its CEO is the eccentric Elon Musk . 

In 2022, Elon Musk’s name will most likely be remembered above all for his troubled relationship with the social network Twitter . Starting from the long negotiation for his purchase , up to the wave of layoffs that began a few days after he began his role as CEO. 

However, Musk is one of the most enterprising entrepreneurs of this historical moment. Over the years he has tried his hand at the most diverse activities. First of all, he was the protagonist of the birth of PayPal , with which he literally revolutionized the world of online payments. 

He then invested in solar energy with SolarCity . So he made space travel closer than ever for simple tourists with his SpaceX. Finally , Tesla, the automotive company with which Elon Musk pursues a dual objective. 

On the one hand, placing your name alongside that of true industry giants such as Ferrari, Mercedes or Lamborghini. On the other hand , creating cutting-edge vehicles , capable of making the best use of the most innovative and eco-sustainable technologies .

Tesla Motors

tesla motors

Roschetzky Photography /

 Founded in 2003, Tesla Motors is a car company that produces fully electric vehicles (powered exclusively by electricity via batteries, without the use of fuel) and electric car parts for other companies active in the automotive sector . The company, which owes its name to the American physicist and inventor (of Serbian origin) Nikola Tesla, made the front pages of sector magazines – and not only – between the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 thanks to the commercial launch of the  Tesla Roadster , the first sports car to be powered solely by electricity.

This first model – as well as the others – exploit the power supplied by the  alternating current motor  designed in the Palo Alto laboratories and very similar – if not identical – to the one theorized by Tesla himself in 1882. The Roadster is the first electric car with a range of over 300 kilometers and the first to use “normal” lithium ion batteries to power the engine.

Between 2008 and 2012 the company managed to sell over 2,000 Tesla Roadster models in 31 countries (the base price of a Tesla Roadster is 108,000 dollars, just over 80 thousand euros), while the workforce increased from 3,000 units to 2012 to around 6,000 at the beginning of 2014.

The history of Tesla

tesla motors

Nadezda Murmakova /

Tesla Motors was founded in June 2003 on the initiative of  Martin Eberhard  and Marc Tarpenning. The two invest their savings in the creation of the company, but almost immediately find a very important (and wealthy) ally in Elon Musk . Musk himself led the first  rounds  of financing , managing to accumulate capital of over 180 million dollars in less than five years. In October 2008 Musk returned to the role of CEO, managing to intercept an important investment from Daimler in the very first months of 2009 (50 million dollars for the acquisition of 10% of the company’s capital).

It was in June 2009, however, that the company’s fortunes changed profoundly: Tesla Motors received subsidized financing from the US Government for around 500 million dollars, necessary for the development and initial production of the Tesla Model S.

On June 29, 2010, the company landed on Wall Street with the listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange : thanks to the IPO ( Initial public offering), Tesla Motors raised over 200 million dollars. Despite the drop in prices at the end of 2013 (caused by the fire of a Model S), the company directed by Elon Musk won the title of best stock on the NASDAQ 100 for 2013.

Meanwhile, Tesla continues to grow. Elon Musk’s company produced and sold more than 30 thousand electric car models in 2014 alone, while in 2015 growth of over 50% was recorded, with the total soaring beyond the threshold of 50 thousand units sold.

2016, if possible, starts under even better auspices: the production of Model S and Model The real exploit, however, is scored by Tesla Model III, a low-cost electric car which recorded around 200 thousand pre-orders in the first weekend of sale.

If we add to this the full entry of the Gigafactory and the prospects of entering China, we understand that Tesla’s future is brighter than one might think. The Gigafactory is a plant located near Reno, State of Nevada, where Tesla aims to produce lithium ion batteries at a cost 30% lower than that incurred by the competition, thus being able to create even cheaper electric car models.Fastweb Mobile Full

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China, however, could be the new commercial and production frontier for Elon Musk’s car company. In October 2015, in fact, the rumor spread that Tesla was in negotiations with the Chinese Government to build a production plant in the Asian country: the Tesla Model 3 intended for the domestic market should be produced here in the event that the low-cost electric car make its way into the hearts of the Chinese.

Tesla’s technology

tesla motors

Mike Mareen /

The most technologically interesting aspect of Tesla Motors branded electric cars is represented by the batteries used to accumulate electrical energy. Unlike other car manufacturers, which usually use  “single-purpose”  storage cells (i.e. used exclusively for the automotive industry), Tesla uses batteries made up of thousands of 18650 lithium ion cells. This model, with a cylindrical shape and dimensions reduced, it is usually used in batteries for laptop computers and other electronic devices. Naturally, Tesla designers adapted this technology to their needs, making cells lighter and more economical.

With the  Model S  (the heir to the  Roadster ) this technology undergoes a further evolution: the batteries, instead of being housed behind the seats as happened in the first model produced, are arranged on the floor of the car, reducing overall dimensions to a minimum.

In this way the batteries are practically “invisible” and do not “steal” space from the trunk or the passenger compartment. This allows you to change the batteries quickly (about 90 seconds), however exposing them to greater risks: a stone or an object protruding from the road surface is enough to damage them. To prevent this from happening, the lithium-ion batteries fitted by the Model S are protected by 6 millimeter thick aluminum armor.

In June 2014 Elon Musk announced his intention to make  all patents filed in the name of Tesla Motors open source  , thus opening up the collaboration of third-party designers and other car manufacturers.

Equally interesting is the network of ultra-fast “electric distributors” that Tesla is establishing in North America, Europe and Asia. The Supercharger Network is made up of 480 volt distributors providing direct current and capable of charging the Model S batteries in about half an hour.

Home batteries

tesla batteries

Roschetzky Photography /

Since April 2015, Tesla is no longer just synonymous with electric cars. During an ad hoc event  , Elon Musk announced his intention to enter the home automation market with Tesla Energy . This  corporate spin-off  deals with producing smart home batteries that promise to substantially cut your electricity bill.

The task of  Powerwall , the name of the lithium ion battery for domestic users, is to accumulate energy from solar panels when home consumption is minimal or from the normal electricity grid when costs are lower. In both cases, the battery allows you to satisfy your home’s energy needs by rationalizing resources and reducing pollution.

The models on sale

tesla Y

Christopher Lyzcen /

  • Tesla Roadster . The progenitor of the family. Presented in July 2006, it landed on the markets two years later and remained there until mid-2012. In four years, over 2,000 models of the car were produced and sold, allowing the US company to record its first profit on the balance sheet at the end of the year. fiscal year 2012. The  Roadster  covers, on average, around 390 kilometers on a single charge and has very respectable performance: it takes less than 4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h and has a top speed of 200 km/h
  • Tesla Model S. Announced in June 2008, the super luxury sedan initially known as  Whitestar  has been on sale since the first half of 2012. Already sold in more than 30,000 units worldwide, the Model S is among the best-selling electric cars in the world and the best-selling vehicle ever on the Norwegian market (in March 2014 the Tesla Model S represented 10.4% of new registrations in the Scandinavian country). Cars distributed in the North American market are produced in factories in Fremont, California, while cars for the European market are assembled in Tilburg, Holland
  •  Tesla Model Characterized by the “gull wing” opening of the front doors, the Model X is equipped with 2 electric motors capable of developing 762 horsepower and accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds. Inside the passenger compartment there is space for the on-board computer which can be controlled from the 17-inch monitor, while the Autopilot system guarantees higher safety standards
  • Tesla Model 3 . Officially presented in April 2016 to be marketed only in 2017, Tesla Model 3 is the low-cost electric car desired at all costs by Elon Musk. Conceived and designed to make electric-powered cars “popular”, the Model 3 is capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 6 seconds and has a range of 350 kilometres. On launch day, more than 100,000 were ordered
  • Tesla Model Y. Tesla Model Y was presented on March 14, 2019 and is a crossover version of the previous Model 3. It was made available with a 5 or 7 seat configuration, with a price range of approximately $60,000 to $70,000. Deliveries began in 2020 and at the same time the arrival of an economical version of Model Y was announced, on sale starting from $39,000. The release of Tesla Model Y has “revealed” a fun backstory: a sort of plan by Elon Musk relating to the naming of his cars. The entrepreneur dreamed that his most significant cars would form the word “SEXY”. Unfortunately, the inability to use the Model E name for the current Model 3 meant that the model identifying letters spelled out the word “S3XY”. 

Models in development

tesla truck

Mike Mareen /

In addition to the models on sale, Tesla is working on several vehicles that have yet to enter the production phase . The “oldest” is certainly Semi : a road tractor that has been talked about since 2016. 

In Elon Musk’s plans , Semi is a kind of super truck powered by four electric motors . It should boast a range of 800 kilometers and would be able to go from 0 to 100 km/h in just five seconds . 

In 2019, two other technological vehicle models were presented, halfway between work and private use. The reference is to Cybertruck and Cyberquad . The first is a pickup inspired by the famous science fiction film Blade Runner. The second is an off-road quadricycle .

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