Why Did Elon Musk Start Tesla? What Motivated Him?

From 2004 to 2008, Tesla expanded its operation and built its first vehicle, The Roadster. The company began its factory in Fremont, CA, where a 5.3 million-square-foot factory was marked as both an assembly facility and parts manufacturing plant.

This factory was formerly owned by the largest car manufacturers worldwide such as Toyota and General Motors.17 The factory is called Nummi, which has two paint facilities and 1.5 miles of assembly lines.

In 2008, Musk joined the company as its CEO and product architect, posts he still holds as of March 2022. Read through to find out more about this topic.

Why Did Elon Musk Start Tesla?

Tesla was not an overnight success, and it wasn’t Elon Musk who started Tesla. Shocked? Wait there’s more! Tesla was founded in the year 2003 by two engineers from Silicon Valley named Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.

Both of them had a perception that EVs are better and fun to ride with their dream to make one.

In 1990, Tarpenning met Eberhard, an engineer at Wyse Technology then, and became good friends. They both shared a love for starting businesses. And eventually started NuvoMedia making the Rocket eBook in 1998.

Soon, Eberhard became excessively interested in cars. He thought about starting the electric car business after he invested in a small electric car company by the name AC Propulsion.

They approached Elon Musk in 2001 after being captivated by his talk at Stanford University for the Mars Society. By then, Musk had already started and sold several successful start-ups.

Why is Tesla Named after Nikola Tesla?

As Business Insider put it, the name that stuck was cofounder Martin Eberhard. In somewhere between the discussion on the name of his new venture with his then-girlfriend (and now wife) Carolyn, he decided somehow the name fit perfectly for his grand vision of the company.

In doing this, Eberhard realized that he should come up with a firm brand name for his new company which would build electric cars with differences and it is going to be a startup.

He wanted the company to be a game changer and the vehicles were designed so well that they would amend how everyone thought of EVs forever.

Final Thought

Among the main reasons to start Tesla, was the recent retirement of the General Motors EV1 program. At the same time, General Motors ran this program for only 3 years – from 1996 to 1999 and produced a limited run of cars.

These cars were never released for a wider public sale but are considered as a great achievement from an engineering point of view.

This inspired Tesla Motors’ founding engineers, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, to bring the company to life in July 2003. They became its CEO and CFO subsequently.

The duo funded the start-up out of pocket until the company opened up for series A funding from other investors.