Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Tesla Motors - The Early Years

Hey Malcolm,

thanks for posting this. It's a good idea to counter some of the revisionist history that EM has been spreading.

BTW, did you notice the error in the date on slide # 15? It says "May 2003: 5 Employees" instead of "May 2004: 5 Employees".

It's getting harder to counter the BS about who started TM, but I'm glad to see that you're still committed to it.

You should change back to your old avatar... it always made me smile. :smile:

All the best,

Chris H.
Martin Eberhard, the founder of Tesla Motors, on Tesla Founders:
Yes, Elon is fond of pretending he founded Tesla Motors, but it is not in any stretch of the word true. Elon led the Series A investment round, about 10 months after Marc and I incorporated the company, about 15 months after we conceived of the company. Although Elon put in most of the Series A money, (about 80%), he was not the only investor then, and there were investors before him. This is completely indisputable; you can look up the incorporation papers in the State of Delaware; you won’t see his name on them anywhere…
It was not just garage work we did - we conceived of the Roadster pretty much as it is today (including with a single-speed transmission!) We had established relationships with both Lotus and AC Propulsion. We had the basic layout of the car figured out. We had written a complete business plan for the company, and had been showing it to many prospective investors; Elon was but one of many. No doubt there was a ton of work to do still, and we needed $ to hire people and do that work.
Want to hear more? Wait until my book comes out
If this is not a hint, I don't know what it is! :biggrin:
  • Like
Reactions: Vern Padgett
I did a lot of reading (and watching presentations of Martin) about the beginning of Tesla and Martin's effort to make a good car and company. I have a huge respect for him and his achievement and I can't believe how he got kicked out of the company.

I'm developing a EV too, and I'm very surprised how similar our routs are. I'm facing the same problems he did. Good to know that someone else succeeded in such a venture.

Such a shame for the company to loose him.
Last edited:
From Wiki: Elon Musk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


"Musk is perhaps most famous for his role at Tesla Motors, where he was a co-founder and the company's sole product architect and chairman of the board."

"His vision was to create the Tesla Roadster as a means to that end—a car aimed specifically at affluent early adopters, who would then buy the sports car and subsidize the research and development costs of lower priced models of electric vehicles."

"Several mainstream publications have compared him with Henry Ford for his revolutionary work on advanced vehicle powertrains."
  • Like
Reactions: Vern Padgett
vfx, I've long enjoyed your comments. Keep in mind that I didn’t write those absurdities. They’re from a Wikipedia article and express a startlingly different version of Tesla history. I did wonder what kind of person could have written them. Here are a few guesses.
1. Someone poorly informed and impressionable.
2. The TM CEO himself.
3. A somewhat subtle satirist.

Chris, I have to confess that I never read any Fitzgerald, and that I have very little interest in the TM CEO except as it pertains to TM history. Even in that regard I now prefer to just let his words, and Martin’s eloquence, speak for themselves.
VFX, "Delaware?"

For tax reasons mostly.
Yes, Delaware is very friendly to outside companies incorporating there. Microsoft is a Delaware company, even though they were founded and are still headquartered in Redmond, WA. Perhaps there is some logic to Tesla Motors - considered the software company of automakers - being incorporated in the same state as Microsoft and others.
Tesla Founders Blog credits Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning as founders of Tesla Motors, Inc. Wikipedia includes Ian Wright as a team member, but not necessarily a founder. What was the name of the company that Elon Musk and J.B. Straubel were working at when Tome Gage or AC Propulsion suggested that they all get together?

It seems like it should be possible to find the Delaware incorporation documents for Tesla Motors, Inc., and simply look at the names of the people listed. Does anyone have a link?