A stand-up comedian, freelance writer, and habitual driver, Regi Brittain loves life and wants to help you enjoy it!
Since its beginnings in co-founders' Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning's brains—and soon after, Elon Musk's hands—Tesla, Inc. has been a force for change in the marketplace. Take it from me. As a comedian who also freelance writes, I'm obviously the best person to inform others on this subject.
Seriously, if you read this article and suffer through my few jokes herein, you will fully appreciate the Tesla brand's past, present, and future at the end of the piece (and you might laugh a bit, too!)
9 Things You May Not Know about Tesla, Inc.
- The company was not originally created by Elon Musk. (Of course, he and his team have built the electric car-making company into something quite substantial.)
- Sure, Tesla builds and sells innovative electric cars, but it also sells things that totally are not cars—moreover, things that don't even have tires—like solar panels and solar roof tiles and the Tesla Powerwall.
- Surprisingly, the aforementioned Tesla Powerwall is not the name of an obstacle on American Ninja Warrior! It is an electric-power storage product that uses lithium-ion batteries to store solar power or backup power.
- On the other end of the product spectrum, the company sells a compact, Tesla-branded, sleek phone charger. What a way to wow your friends! (Did I just say "wow your friends"?)
- Tesla, Inc. was Silicon Valley's first car company.
- You can schedule a test drive at a Tesla dealership via the company's website.
- Fully charging a Tesla Model S at one of the maker's supercharging stations requires about 75 minutes.
- At the end of 2017, about 7,500 Tesla Supercharger units had been installed throughout the world.
- There's a Tesla Roadster orbiting the Sun!
The Tesla Brand's Early Days
Tesla was launched in Silicon Valley. It was the high-tech industry's first serious foray into producing passenger cars that could compete with the mass-produced nameplates made by the world's international automakers.
Everhard and Tarpenning had experienced success with other high-tech ventures, so they ran with Tesla in 2003.
Elon Musk joined the fun in 2004 when his venture capital firm provided Series A funding. When the Tesla Roadster finally hit driveways a few years later, it was the result of substantial guidance and input from Musk.
By the end of the 21st century's first decade, Tesla's Roadster was the "it" car on green-leaning auto enthusiasts' wish lists.
Tesla Gets on the Map with the Tesla Roadster
If you're like me, I'm sorry. But if you were a grown adult in the early 2000s, then you might recall when Tesla first turned your head—by releasing an electric car worth coveting as much as an exotic, gas-powered model. That car was the Tesla Roadster.
Built with two seats, four wheels, a bunch of rechargeable batteries, and an immeasurable amount of oomph, the Roadster won hearts and ogles!
The battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, was built at Tesla's Menlo Park, CA, and Hethel, UK, facilities from 2008 to 2012. America's Environmental Protection Agency measured the car's single-charge travel capacity at 244 miles. Significantly, this model can hop from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds, and its electric power train means that it doesn't need to shift gears. Once you press the "gas" pedal, the Tesla Roadster simply goes!
Since it first entered the electric car game, Tesla's Roadster has proven green, fun, and collectible. Famous people reported having Roadsters in their stables include
- George Clooney
- Leonardo DiCaprio
- Matt Damon
- Jenna Elfman
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Of course, you don't have to be a celebrity to own a Tesla Roadster. You simply need to be able to part with approximately $100,000 for a new or used, first-generation unit. (Tesla's second-generation Roadster is expected to hit showrooms and driveways in 2020 and feature a starting price tag of $200,000.)
Tesla Courts Luxury Sedan Buyers with the Model S
Drivers fell in love with Tesla's Roadster, but many could not commit to a two-seater. Elon Musk and Tesla remedied this situation by releasing a luxury sedan, the Tesla Model S. Released for the model year 2013, the Model S soon won a long list of awards:
- 2013 World Green Car of the Year
- Time magazine's Best 25 Inventions of the Year 2012
- 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year
- Many other accolades
Stunningly, in 2015, Car and Driver magazine awarded the Model S with Car of the Century—which, considering that 85 percent of the 21st century was yet to come, was a bold statement, indeed!
A bigger hit with the car-buying public than Tesla's Roadster, the Model S has been seen in the possession of
- Steven Spielberg
- Cameron Diaz
- Jennifer Garner
- Will Smith
- Ben Affleck
- Regular folks who love exceptional automobiles
Tesla Seeks a Broader Niche With Its Model 3
Of course, many people who wanted a Tesla Roadster or Model S could not—or would not—part with the doubloons to acquire one. Musk and Tesla concocted a product that most of these folks would find irresistible, the Model 3. Whereas the price tag on a new Model S starts at around $70,000, the Model 3's base price is about half that figure.
Now, you wouldn't expect a Model 3 to cut a luxurious berth equal to the Model S's, but it has a futuristic, unique look, and it carries Tesla's brand cachet. At $35,000 and up, it is also the model with which Elon Musk realized his vision to bring a reliable, competitively priced electric car to the auto marketplace.
I would be proud to drive this Tesla, and—honestly—it's probably the only model I have any chance of attaining! Ha!
Tesla Unveils the Model X SUV
Premium SUVs are popular, so Tesla fixed its gaze upon the niche by announcing the Model X. With an alluring name, the Model X can seat seven people and go places other Teslas simply cannot.
This Tesla carries the brand's growing weight in the auto marketplace, and it features crossover SUV exterior styling, standard all-wheel drive, a 5-star safety rating, a 295-mile range, and falcon-wing doors.
For this unique, battery-powered, luxury SUV, you can expect to spend at least $80,000.
Tesla's Nameplates and Who the Automaker Wants to Buy Them
Two-seat electric sports car
Sports car enthusiasts who may also have a guilty conscience
Luxury electric sedan
Doctor, lawyers, venture capitalists and the odd thespian
Premium mid-size electric sedan
People who want a Tesla but also want to spend less money on one
Luxury electric SUV
You know who you are
What Will Tesla Do Next?
Now that there is a Tesla car in outer frickin' space, are there really any untouched electric-auto frontiers worth entering. You probably guessed that I'd say yes!
Tesla has started testing its autonomous Semi model, which has a name that signifies exactly what it is, a commercial-trucking product, on U.S. Interstate Highway 80. Look for these electric behemoths to move truckloads upon truckloads of cargo during the 2020s.
It will be interesting to watch what Elon Musk and Tesla, Inc. bring to the electric vehicle marketplace over time—and how they may affect other aspects of 21st-century life.
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© 2018 Regi Brittain