Elon Musk often describes himself as the founder of Tesla, but this announcement, as flattering as it is, is actually false.
This Monday, the Tesla Inc brand announced in a press release that it had reached an agreement with Martin Eberhard. The former CEO of the firm has the right to announce himself as one of the “five co-founders” of the automobile firm. As a reminder, Eberhard was the CEO of Tesla from 2002 to 2007. When Elon Musk arrived at the head of the company, Eberhard was dismissed, and it took 15 years to see him gain his title of “co-founder”. .
In its communication on the subject, the brand remained very vague on the terms of the agreement between Eberhard and Tesla. The latter therefore has the right to call himself “co-founder”, but this obviously does not give him any title or access within the company. Last July, Eberhard filed a lawsuit against Tesla to assert his rights and seek damages, but he was then rejected by the California courts.
Tesla: five co-founders to rewrite history
In total, there are therefore five people who would be at the origin of Tesla, today one of the best listed companies on the stock market. In addition to Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard, the current chief technology officerbut also Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright are entitled to the title of co-founders of the brand.
Marc Tarpenning, who is often seen as the “real” co-founder alongside Eberhard, had left the company in 2008. During the six years before that, he had been the company’s vice president and chief financial officer. of the latter. As a reminder, Elon Musk only really started to take an interest in Tesla in 2004. At that time he was a simple investor who entered the capital of the company thanks to the money from the sale of PayPal. Of a total fundraising of 7.5 million dollars, Musk brings 6.5 million, or 86% of the sum.
2008: taking power
4 years later, in 2008, Elon Musk took control of Tesla. Driven by the idea of producing ever cheaper electric cars, Elon Musk will work in this direction and produce the Tesla Model S. In 2018, 10 years after his arrival at the head of the manufacturer, Tesla presents and markets the Model 3, a car that will mark a turning point in the history of the brand.
Today Tesla is totally dependent on Elon Musk who is the CEO, but also the main shareholder of the brand (22.3%). In 2021 Tesla managed to sell 936,172 cars, just below its goal of one million vehicles sold in one year. However, this figure represents an increase of 87% compared to 2020.