Tesla Motors is constantly in the news these days – whether because of its latest product or billionaire CEO Elon Musk. But, there are many things you may not know about this company that is trying to change the world.
So, here are 10 things you probably do not know about Tesla Motors:
1. Elon Musk is not the founder of Tesla Motors
Everyone who has heard of Tesla Motors thinks that South African billionaire Elon Musk is the founder of the company. It turns out that is not actually true. The company launched in 2003 and Musk became involved one year later. Its original founders were engineers and innovators Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard. As committed clean energy enthusiasts, they wanted to build a car that would usher electric cars into the mainstream. Their search for financiers led them to Musk, who had the money. That’s how he became involved. Tesla built its first drivable electric car in 2004.
2. The original founders are no longer with the company
Once Musk became involved, he quickly took control of the company. As the biggest investor in the company, he became its board of directors’ chairman. He personally funded the majority of Series A capital. Already a widely recognized and popular name, it didn’t take him long to become the company’s face. As Tesla’s popularity and market value grew, disagreements between Musk and Eberhard grew. Their dispute resulted in a legal battle, which was eventually settled out of court. In January 2008, Eberhard said he was no longer actively involved in the company and was only a shareholder. Tarpenning also left in 2008 to pursue other interests.
3. The founders spent months searching for an appropriate name
Everyone knows the founders named the company after the Serbian-American engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla. A rare genius, Tesla invented several things, including the first modern AC motor and neon lamps. An early version of the company’s website stated its car wouldn’t have been possible without Tesla’s vision. But, in reality, the founders hadn’t thought of him when they decided to launch the company. Tarpenning and Eberhard had spent months searching for a name. When Eberhard mentioned Tesla, his then-girlfriend thought it would be an appropriate name for the company. He suggested the name to Tarpenning, who immediately approved and secured the domain name TeslaMotors.com. That’s how the company got its name.
4. Tesla’s batteries are not the same as regular batteries
We all know that electric vehicles run on batteries. But, Tesla cars use a different type of battery than those used by other electric cars. Other manufacturers use lithium-ion batteries. In this type of battery, lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode when discharging. They move back to the negative electrode when charging. The battery pack used in Tesla’s cars are made of an array of thousands of commodity cells. These are like the ones used in laptop batteries. These battery packs are capable of generating enough power to get the car moving from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and travel up to 270 miles per charge. Moreover, they are robust and constantly improving.
5. Tesla cars are no pushovers when it comes to long distances
One reason electric cars are taking time to catch on is that people need to recharge them frequently. This makes them impractical for long road trips. Not so with the Tesla electric cars. First, the Tesla cars have a range of about 270 miles per charge, which is a pretty long distance. But, more importantly, Tesla has strategically placed charging stations all over the world. So far, there are 1,332 charging stations equipped with more than 10,000 superchargers in different parts of the world. The company provides each customer a map to locate the recharging stations. The stations are free of charge. The purchase price of the car includes the cost of the charging station.
6. Tesla cars need far less maintenance than traditional cars
One big advantage Tesla car owners have over owners of traditional cars is that they require less regular maintenance. Since they don’t run on oil, there is no need to change oil, air filters, fan belts, and spark plugs. This will save you a lot of money, as well as valuable time. The only things that you would need to replace regularly are the tires and wiper blades. You would also need to check the coolants regularly. You will hardly ever need to change the brake pads because Tesla cars have a different braking system. While other cars slow down by applying friction, Tesla cars slow down by reversing the electrical motor. This means there will be no friction on the brake pads. Thus, Tesla cars are easier to maintain.
7. Tesla cars have a very high safety rating
Tesla cars are not just safe for the environment, they are also safer for the driver and passengers. They have consistently gotten high safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Model S got the highest safety rating in history at one point. The car was so tough that it actually broke a machine used for testing its roof crush protection. That’s how safe it is. It is so tough you can place at least four fully loaded Model S cars on top of it. This strength comes from the car’s solid structure, a strategically placed electric drivetrain, and a low-mounted battery.
8. It has a package called the “Ludicrous Mode”
Buyers of P85D, a top-of-the-line Model S, can opt for a package called the “Ludicrous Mode.” This upgrade enables the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds. The power comes from a smart fuse and a tiny lithium-ion battery. The fuse has its own electronics. The mechanism allows the car’s battery to run close to its absolute limit. If you want a faster option, then there is the Roadster – Tesla’s sports car. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds. Simply amazing! Who would have thought that electric cars could go that fast?
9. Tesla Model S comes with a delightful hidden feature
Designed for speed and endurance, the Tesla Model S is an amazing car. One of the most aerodynamic cars with the lowest drag coefficient, it also has a surprising hidden feature. If you punch 0-0-7 in the center console when in diagnostic mode, the car will transform. Making nautically themed adjustments, it will show the car morphing into a sea-worthy shape.
10. Tesla also has an SUV model
Tesla does not only manufacture saloons and hatchbacks. The company also has an SUV model that can give any other SUV manufacturer a run for its money. Model X, a mid-size SUV, is a seven-passenger vehicle built for the family. It has three rows of seats and what Tesla calls “falcon doors.” A falcon door is a fancy name for a gullwing-style door that provides easy access to the back seats.
With the enigmatic Musk at the helm, Tesla has pioneered many electric vehicle technologies. This is why it is at the forefront of electric vehicle technology. With the popularity of electric cars growing, there can be little doubt the company has a long and bright future.
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