In seventeen short years, the company has racked up an impressive number of milestones and is reshaping the way we travel and think about the future. As Tesla readies the release of the new Model S, as well as its Semi, Cybertruck, and Roadster, the organization is headed for the fast lane.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
In less than two decades, the Silicon Valley electric-car company has transformed the auto industry in ways we never thought possible - creating an American car brand and forcing its rivals to switch to electric and take significant ranks. Not only has it benefited the US economy and helped consumers access cutting-edge cars without breaking the bank, but it’s moved the world forward leaps and bounds in terms of the environment, forcing us to question the way we travel and make more conscious choices that reduce our footprints.
Before Elon Musk, today worth more than $180 billion, was involved with Tesla, he and his business partners took their share of PayPal - worth $1.5 billion at the time - and sank it into Tesla and SpaceX projects, an incredible commitment that some at the time thought would lead to wreck and ruin. Shortly after that investment, the Original Roadster launched as the firm’s first vehicle, based on a Lotus chassis, and demonstrated to the world that EVs could be cool and fast. No longer did people buy a glorified golf cart - they were buying a vision for the future and a car that not only looked good but performed well, too.
And it didn’t take long until Tesla took it to the next level, opening their first factory back in 2010, taking over the reins of the operating GM/Toyota plant following General Motors’ bankruptcy, overnight changing the fortunes of Tesla and offering endless manufacturing potential that it continues to use today through manufacturing right in the United States.
By 2012, Tesla launched the Model S, which really turned heads. The car was clean and cutting-edge, and where the Roadster showed that the company could do fast, the Model S demonstrated Tesla’s commitment to design and luxury. But with so many new EVs entering the market, where would consumers charge them? Shortly after the launch of the Model S, Tesla launched the Supercharger network, a proprietary fast-charging network that’s now spread across North America, Europe, and China, allowing owners to road trip beyond their usual EV range and setting a standard for the wider industry. Although other manufacturers have tried to launch their own proprietary technology, Musk has confirmed that several manufacturers are now using the Supercharger network as part of their fleet, unlocking an additional revenue stream for the company and encouraging Tesla to further expand the reach of its charging network as we enter into a new generation of EVs.
Though it would be impossible to break down every element of Tesla’s success so far, we have to give a nod to the Model X, which was revealed to much fanfare, with its “falcon wing” doors serving as an eye-turning feature. Although it took three years between the announcement and launch of the Model X, the car single-handedly changed Tesla’s fate. In 2016, just 97 Model X cars were sold, followed by 2,725, 21,600 and 27,250 in 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively. In 2020, 26,100 were sold, and with the 2021 Model X taking on SUV/MPV markets and sharing motor technology with the Model S, the vehicle cuts an imposing, whale-shaped hole into the electric car chasm - and it’s won the critics over, too.
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