When Did Tesla Become Popular? What Led to This?

Back in 2003, Tesla (TSLA) kicked off its journey in San Carlos, California, thanks to the hard work and passion of engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Initially known as Tesla Motors, the company changed its name in 2017.

Tesla is renowned for his groundbreaking work on rotating electromagnetic fields, paving the way for what we now know as “alternating current,” the same electrical transmission method still in use today.

Beyond his contributions to electrical engineering, Tesla has evolved into a cultural icon, especially cherished by the engineering community in recent decades.

When Did Tesla Become Popular?

Tesla started gaining popularity from 2004 to 2008. During those years, the company went through some major growth, and they rolled out their first-ever car, The Roadster.

To make this happen, they set up a massive 5.3 million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Fremont, CA. Interestingly, this place, known as Nummi, used to belong to Toyota and General Motors. It’s equipped with two paint facilities and 1.5 miles of assembly lines.

In 2008, Elon Musk stepped up as the big boss, taking on the roles of CEO and product architect, positions he still holds as of March 2022. And it was in the same game-changing year that Tesla introduced its debut car, the Roadster sports car.

Car and Driver had some high praise for it, calling it, “More than just a car, it’s one of the boldest statements on the road.”

Tesla Changing Leadership and Controversy

In 2008, Tesla went through some big changes in its leadership team. Back in 2007, Martin Eberhard stepped down as the CEO, but he stayed on as part of the advisory board. Taking his place temporarily was Michael Marks, a Tesla investor. Then, in November, Ze’ev Drori became Eberhard’s permanent successor.

Drori gets a lot of credit for taking the Roadster from just a prototype to a real, workable product. When he came on board in 2007, the project was kind of stuck, and everyone was wondering if Tesla could get its main (and only) product out to the market. Drori played a key role in making sure the Roadster successfully launched in 2008.

However, right before the company shipped its very first car (Roadster Number 1, sent to Musk), Tesla’s co-founders, Eberhard and Tarpenning, said their goodbyes to the company. Not long after, in October 2008, Elon Musk took over as the CEO and had to make the tough decision to let go of 25% of the company’s staff.

Final Thoughts

Tesla Motors’s vision has always been to create electric sports cars. Leading the charge were Martin Eberhard as the CEO and Marc Tarpenning as the CFO.

They worked hard together to gather funds from various avenues, with a notable boost from Elon Musk, one of the brains behind PayPal.

Musk didn’t just throw in a hefty sum of over $30 million; he rolled up his sleeves and stepped in as the company’s chairman from 2004 onward.