Tesla founders on the early days of the electric vehicle startup

Monday 15 February 2021

Elon Musk may be the CEO and face of Tesla, but he was not a founder. That fact is often overlooked as the enigmatic CEO has certainly made the company his own over the past decade and a half. However, the world’s richest person was actually Tesla’s 4th CEO when he took over in October 2008. 

In this article and video Tesla’s two founders, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, share their memories of the early days of Tesla and of Elon Musk. 

Listening to their memories of founding Tesla, it is a fascinating reminder of how far the world has come (much of it due to Tesla and Elon’s efforts in shifting the Overton window). When they started Tesla, the electric vehicle industry was a joke. Major car makers were folding their EV divisions, EV startups made novelty-looking cars and government rules around emissions were being gutted by the Bush Administration. 

In the 20 years since, we are now living in a world where electric vehicles are the hottest sector in the car market, Tesla is worth almost $800 billion and every major car maker is focused on making electric cars. 

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