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History Lesson Tesla: The Story So Far

For a company with just 14 candles on its cake, it’s already been quite the rollercoaster...

Paul Horrell

An anonymous light-industrial unit in San Carlos, California, in early 2007. TG pays a visit to Tesla. It’s still a long way from delivering its first car to a customer – though such is the buzz that many people had already ordered them, sight unseen. Chief technical officer JB Straubel (still there now) had several persuasive arguments in favour of electric cars. The first was to put you in a prototype of the Roadster, potter off to the local freeway on-ramp, then simply mash the right pedal. That’s a transformative experience I still remember.

Even more vivid is my memory of the two-hour conversation I had with Straubel. Long experience has taught me to be very wary of the claims of new car-company startups, let alone startups talking about new powertrains. But he was just so darned articulate, thoughtful, convincing.

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November 2017