Not Elon Musk, it turns out these are two founders of Tesla

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Not Elon Musk, it turns out these are two founders of Tesla

Contrary to what most people think, Elon Musk was not involved in founding Tesla. Two others had founded Tesla Motors before Musk arrived.

Contrary to what most people think, it turns out Elon Musk not the founder of Tesla. He is in fact known as a senior official and is popularly called the sole founder of Tesla. But it turns out that two other people started this company before Musk joined.

Two first founders

Musk is popularly known as the CEO and founder of Tesla. But only one of the two statements is true. He got involved and joined Tesla in 2004 and was named CEO in 2008. Even though Tesla Motors was founded in 2003.

Tesla was officially founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning on July 1, 2003. Although they both left Tesla, they played an important role in the development of Tesla in the company’s early days.

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Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning co-founded Tesla Motors
Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla in 2003

In addition to Tesla, Eberhard also served as CEO until December 2007. At that time, Tesla’s board of directors asked him to step down from the company. Meanwhile Tarpenning has assumed the role of Vice President of Electrical Engineering. Although he left shortly after Eberhard in January 2008.

Tarpenning resigned from Tesla while they were developing the flagship Tesla Model S sedan. He also revealed that he still talks to Musk from time to time.

“Everything was great from start to finish. It’s all, you know, the worst and the best. And it worked well,” he explained as quoted by CNBC, Saturday (11/26/2022).

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Enter Elon Musk

So how did Musk get in touch with Tesla Motors? Eberhard and Tarpenning first met Musk in January 2003 when they were fundraising for Tesla. Interested in Tesla’s results, Musk invested $6.5 million of the total $7.5 million Tesla received at the time.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla
Elon Musk has been CEO since 2008

And big changes happened in 2008. Dove Eberhard stepped down as CEO in 2007, replaced by Michael Marks who stepped up as interim CEO. Ze’ev Dori was CEO and President of Tesla between December 2007 and October 2008.

Musk, who replaced Ze’ev, ended up serving as CEO of Tesla until then. So calling Musk the founder of Tesla isn’t technically accurate. Though his involvement as one of those who popularized Tesla in the automotive industry cannot be understated.

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