Tesla’s story is both simple and complex. Simple, because it only creates electric cars. Complex, because its president, Elon Musk, is very much so! Tesla and Elon Musk are inseparable, with the 48-year-old South African multi-billionaire being mistakenly considered its founder. It is true that Musk founded many companies, not least PayPal (computer financial services), SpaceX (space travel) and The Boring Company (Hyperloop), among others. But not Tesla.
Tesla, in homage to Nikolas Tesla (1856 – 1943), an engineer who developed the first alternators, was instead created in 2003 by two ambitious academics, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. They want to produce an electric sports car at a time when the popularity of this type of energy is at its lowest level. Except that building a car, electric or not, requires a lot of money. In their quest, Eberhard and Tarpenning meet the dashing Elon Musk who is full of them. In 2004, he invested several million dollars in the company and became ipso facto chairman of its board of directors. In January 2008, Eberhard and Tarpenning left the boat. Some predict Tesla’s imminent end.
The Roadster 2008.
The first car to leave the assembly line is the Roadster, a two-seater sports car based on the Lotus Elise, which has a longer wheelbase of 2″ and internal combustion engines replaced by electric motors. The Roadster remained in production until January 2012, when Lotus stopped building the Elise. Some predict the imminent end of Tesla … The Roadster was more than a car … With its seductive lines, unbridled performance and impressive electric range (nearly 400 km), it has helped make the electric car desirable. Its elitist price (about $120,000) helps create an aura of exclusivity that separates Tesla from the plebe.
S 3 X
The second model to be named Tesla is the spectacular Model S, launched on June 22, 2012. His performances are absolutely phenomenal. If the Roadster has brought the electric car into the collective imagination, the Model S does the same for Tesla. Two other models are added to the former American startup’s catalogue. The Model X first appeared in 2015. This SUV is notable for its seagull-winged rear doors, which have caused headaches for engineers and some unfortunate owners. In 2017, the long-awaited Model 3, a compact sedan, arrives. Next year should see the Model Y, a compact SUV.
True to boss Musk, who loves the flamboyant, Tesla unveiled the Semi in 2017, a truck promising the stratosphere in terms of autonomy, performance and autonomous driving. A few weeks ago, we learned that production of the Semi was delayed until next year. Speaking of stratosphere, only Tesla could afford, via the cousin company SpaceX, to send, on February 6, 2018, a car (Roadster) into space! In the spectacular radius, the next Roadster will add an unpleasant layer to absolutely crazy performances. Let’s wait for the rest before we get carried away, Tesla having us used to promise a lot and deliver a little less … Also in the field of excess, the Ludicrous mode (which could be translated freely as ridiculous), which appears on the Model S P85D, allows ballistic accelerations.
The Internet is on fire.
As soon as the Model S was released, the craze for the Palo Alto brand in the heart of Silicon Valley (California) went viral. All automotive websites and publications talk only about Tesla, sometimes bordering on fanaticism. Not bad for a brand that royally ignores the automotive press, has no dealer and carefully avoids auto shows.
A few clouds…
The demand for the Model S is such that delivery times are unduly lengthening. Serious production and supply problems do nothing to improve the situation, as do recurring reliability problems. Some predict the imminent end of Tesla … History repeats itself for the popular Model 3. Again, many production delays are slowing down sales. In addition, the asking price is much higher than expected … Despite the pitfalls, the Model 3 is now produced at more than 20,000 units per month.
recharge of batteries
In 2012, Tesla began expanding its network of fast charging stations, available to eponymous cars only. July 29, 2016 marks an important milestone in Tesla’s history; the opening of the Gigafactory, a giga-factory, operated jointly with Panasonic, which will manufacture the batteries of the future Teslas.
Two other Gigafactories were also born, one in Buffalo NY and another in Shanghai. At the time of writing, in mid-May 2019, investments in the three Gigafactory would have ceased and some workers would have been laid off. A quiet sea is not for Tesla!
Tesla, never on autopilot
Tesla is also the Autopilot, first appeared on October 9, 2014, on a Model S. It is a system whose very name can mislead drivers because, in fact, it is called a pilot inge” system. However, the few accidents caused by the Autopilot were caused when the driver did not comply with the mark’s instructions.
Despite the bad publicity caused by these incidents and the relentlessness of some media, it is undeniable that this system remains one of the most advanced on the market. And, let’s face it, it certainly helped save more sheet metal and, above all, lives than a human being.
One tweet too many
Tesla probably wouldn’t have been so publicized without Elon Musk, its president, who seems to be chasing the cameras as if his life depended on it. He has a beautiful face, he expresses himself well, he is super rich and he has ideas all grander than the other. In short, Musk quickly became the face of Tesla. For better or for worse.
With, or rather because of, his prodigious energy, sometimes poorly managed, Musk, a big follower of social media, has occasionally put his foot in his mouth. On August 7, 2018, for example, he posted a tweet stating that he was considering withdrawing Tesla from the stock exchange, having found an official source of funding (funding secured).