Tesla, Inc.

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Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors, Inc.) is an American electric vehicle and clean energy company based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla's current products include electric cars (the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y), battery energy storage from home to grid scale (the Powerwall, Powerpack, and Megapack), solar panels and solar roof tiles, and related products and services.

Tesla, Inc.
Formerly
Tesla Motors, Inc. (2003–2017)
Public
Traded as
ISINUS88160R1014
Industry
FoundedJuly 1, 2003; 17 years ago (2003-07-01)[1]
FoundersDisputed, see text
Headquarters,
U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products
Production output
Increase 367,500 vehicles (2019)

Increase 1,651 MWh batteries[2] (2019)

Decrease 173 MW solar[2] (2019)
RevenueIncrease US$24.578 billion [3] (2019)
Negative increaseUS$69 million[3] (2019)
Negative increaseUS$862 million[3] (2019)
Total assetsIncrease US$34.309 billion[3] (2019)
Total equityIncrease US$6.618 billion[3] (2019)
OwnerElon Musk (20.8%)[4]
Number of employees
Increase 48,016[5] (2019)
Subsidiaries
Websitewww.tesla.com
Footnotes / references
[6][7][8]

Founded in July 2003 by engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning as Tesla Motors, the company’s name is a tribute to inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. Eberhard said he wanted to build "a car manufacturer that is also a technology company", with its core technologies as "the battery, the computer software and the proprietary motor". The next three employees at Tesla were Ian Wright, Elon Musk, and J. B. Straubel.[9] Musk, who has served as CEO since 2008, said in 2006 that "the overarching purpose of Tesla Motors...is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy toward a solar electric economy" and it would build a wide range of electric vehicles, including "affordably priced family cars", and co-market SolarCity solar panels to do so.[10][11][12] Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016.


After 11 years in the market, Tesla ranked as the world's best-selling plug-in and battery electric passenger car manufacturer in 2019, with a market share of 17% of the plug-in segment and 23% of the battery electric segment.[13] Tesla global vehicle sales increased 50% from 245,240 units in 2018[14] to 367,849 units in 2019.[13] In 2020, the company surpassed the 1 million mark of electric cars produced.[15] The Model 3 ranks as the world's all-time best-selling plug-in electric car, with more than 500,000 delivered.[16] Tesla cars accounted for 81% of the battery electric vehicles sold in the United States in the first half of 2020.[17]

History

 
The insignia of Tesla Motors as seen on a Tesla Roadster Sport

2003–2004: Founding

Founded as Tesla Motors, Tesla was incorporated on July 1, 2003, by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.[18] The two founders were influenced to start the company after GM recalled all its EV1 electric cars in 2003 and then destroyed them,[19] and seeing the higher efficiency of battery-electric cars as an opportunity to break the usual correlation between high performance and low mileage.[20] The AC Propulsion tzero also inspired the company's first vehicle, the Roadster.[21][22] Eberhard said he wanted to build "a car manufacturer that is also a technology company", with its core technologies as "the battery, the computer software, and the proprietary motor".[23]

Ian Wright was Tesla's third employee, joining a few months later.[18] The three raised US$7.5 million in Series A funding in February 2004,[18] with Elon Musk contributing $6.5 million.[24][25] Musk became chairman of the board of directors,[18] and appointed Eberhard as CEO.[26] J. B. Straubel joined Tesla in May 2004.[18] A lawsuit settlement agreed to by Eberhard and Tesla in September 2009 allows all five (Eberhard, Tarpenning, Wright, Musk and Straubel) to call themselves co-founders.[9]

2005–2009: Roadster

Musk took an active role within the company and oversaw Roadster product design at a detailed level, but was not deeply involved in day-to-day business operations.[27] Eberhard acknowledged that Musk was the person who insisted from the beginning on a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer body and that Musk led design of components ranging from the power electronics module to the headlamps and other styling.[28] Musk received the Global Green 2006 product design award for his design of the Tesla Roadster, presented by Mikhail Gorbachev,[29] and he also received the 2007 Index Design award for his design of the Tesla Roadster.[30]

From the beginning, Musk consistently maintained that Tesla's long-term strategic goal was to create affordable mass market electric vehicles.[31] Tesla's goal was to start with a premium sports car aimed at early adopters and then moving into more mainstream vehicles, including sedans and affordable compacts.[11]

In February 2006, Musk led Tesla's Series B $13 million investment round which added Valor Equity Partners to the funding team.[32][25] Musk co-led the third, $40 million round in May 2006 along with Technology Partners.[25] This round included investment from prominent entrepreneurs including Google co-founders Sergey Brin & Larry Page, former eBay President Jeff Skoll, Hyatt heir Nick Pritzker and added the VC firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Capricorn Management, and The Bay Area Equity Fund managed by JPMorgan Chase.[33][25] Musk led the fourth round in May 2008 which added another $40,167,530 in debt financing, and brought the total investments to over $100 million through private financing.[25]

Prototypes of the Tesla's first car, the Roadster, were officially revealed to the public on July 19, 2006, in Santa Monica, California, at a 350-person invitation-only event held in Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport.[34] Tesla began production of the Roadster in 2008.[35]

2010–2015: IPO, Model S and Model X

In January 2010 Tesla received a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, which it repaid in 2013.[36]

In May 2010, Tesla purchased what would become the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, for $42 million,[37][38][39] and opened the facility in October 2010 where Model S would be produced.[38][40][41]

On June 29, 2010, Tesla Motors launched its initial public offering (IPO) on NASDAQ, the first American car company to do so since the Ford Motor Company had its IPO in 1956.[42]

In June 2012, Tesla launched its second car, the Model S luxury sedan.[43]

In September 2015, Tesla launched its first SUV, the Model X.[44]

2016–present: SolarCity, Model 3 and Model Y

In November 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity.[45]

In February 2017, Tesla Motors shortened its name to Tesla, Inc. Tesla began selling the Model 3 sedan in July 2017.[46]

For the year 2019, Tesla posted a loss of $862 million on total revenues of $24.6 billion.[47]

On January 10, 2020, Tesla become the most valuable American automaker to ever exist, with a market capitalization of $86 billion.[48]

In March 2020, Tesla began deliveries of the Model Y crossover.[49]

On June 10, 2020, Tesla's market capitalization surpassed those of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen's combined marked capitalization. The value for Tesla was 165 billion €, the combined value for the 3 German car manufacturer's was 156 billion €.[50]

On July 1, 2020, Tesla reached a market capitalization of $206 billion, surpassing Toyota's $202 billion to become the world's most valuable automaker by market capitalization.[51]

From July 2019 to June 2020, Tesla recorded four profitable quarters in a row for the first time, which made it eligible for inclusion in the S&P 500;[52] it was announced on November 16, 2020, that it will occur prior to trading on December 21, 2020.[53][54]

On August 12, 2020, Tesla announced a 5-for-1 stock split, which took effect on August 31, 2020.[55]

In November 2020, it was announced that Tesla would be added to the S&P 500 on December 21st of the same year. This would be an unprecedented addition for the S&P, with Tesla being the largest company to join as the sixth largest company in the index.[56]

Leadership

List of chief executive officers

  1. Martin Eberhard (2004–2007)
  2. Ze'ev Drori (2007–2008)
  3. Elon Musk (2008–present)

Board of directors

In an April 2017 public letter, an investor group asked Tesla to add two new independent directors to its board "who do not have any ties with chief executive Elon Musk".[57] The investors wrote that "five of six current non-executive directors have professional or personal ties to Mr. Musk that could put at risk their ability to exercise independent judgement."[58] (Tesla's directors at the time included Brad Buss, who served as chief financial officer at SolarCity; Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist who also sits on the board of SpaceX; Mr Musk's brother, Kimbal; and Ira Ehrenpreis and Antonio Gracias, both of whom also invested in SpaceX.[59]) The letter called for a more independent board that could put a check on groupthink.[58] At first Musk responded on Twitter, writing that the investors "should buy Ford stock" because "their governance is amazing."[58] Two days later, he promised he would add two independent board members.[60]

As of October 2020, the Tesla board of directors consists of:[61]

Joined Name Titles Independent Notes
2014[62] Robyn Denholm Full-time Chairwoman of Tesla, Inc.; former CFO and Head of Strategy of Telstra Yes As of March 2020, Denholm is the only Board member with automotive experience besides Musk.[63] (Denholm served in finance and corporate reporting roles at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia from 1989–1996.)[64]
2004[18] Elon Musk Co-founder, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla; founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX; former Chairman of Tesla, Inc.; former Chairman of SolarCity No
2004[65] Kimbal Musk Co-founder of The Kitchen[66] No
2007[67] Ira Ehrenpreis General Partner at Technology Partners[68] Disputed[57]
2007[69][65] Antonio J. Gracias CEO and Chairman of the Investment Committee at Valor Equity Partners[70] Disputed[57] Has agreed not to stand for re-election when his term expires on June 11, 2021.[71]
2017[72] James Murdoch Former CEO of 21st Century Fox Yes
2018[73] Larry Ellison Co-founder, Chairman and CTO of Oracle Corporation Yes
2018[74] Kathleen Wilson-Thompson Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Yes
2020[75] Hiromichi Mizuno Former executive managing director and chief investment officer of Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund Yes

Previous board members include: venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson; businessman Steve Westly; former CFO of SolarCity Brad W. Buss; CEO and Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company Linda Johnson Rice; and Daimler executive Herbert Kohler.[76]

Vehicle strategy

 
Tesla strategy of starting with low-volume high-priced cars and evolving to higher-volume lower-priced cars.[11]

Tesla's product release strategy is to emulate typical technological-product life cycles and initially target affluent buyers, and then move into larger markets at lower price points.[11][77] The battery and electric drivetrain technology for each model would be developed and partially paid for through the sales of earlier models.[11][78] The Roadster was low-volume and priced at $109,000. Model S and Model X target the broader luxury market. Model 3 and the Model Y are aimed at a higher-volume segment.[31][79] This strategy is common in the technology industry.[80] According to a Musk blog post, "New technology in any field takes a few versions to optimize before reaching the mass market, and in this case it is competing with 150 years and trillions of dollars spent on gasoline cars."[81]

With the Model S, Tesla's technology strategy was to start with a "clean-sheet" design,[82] and build an integrated computer hardware and software architecture at the center of its vehicles.[83] Musk stated in 2015: "Tesla is a software company as much as it is a hardware company."[84] Doing so enables Tesla to provide online ("over-the-air") software updates to its cars,[85][86][87] which allows Tesla to improve the functionality and performance of its already-sold cars for free.[83][88]

Tesla's overall customer interaction strategy is to "ensure owners have the best possible experience".[89] In 2020, Consumer Reports ranked Tesla as having the highest "overall customer satisfaction" of any car manufacturer.[90]

Tesla's sales strategy is to not advertise, but to educate customers through its showrooms, and sell its vehicles online rather than through a conventional dealer network.[91][92] Musk believes existing dealerships have a conflict of interest and will not promote electric cars from Tesla or any manufacturer,[93][94] because they make more money servicing than selling cars, and electric cars have lower servicing costs.[95] Tesla is the first automaker that sells cars directly to consumers; all others use independently owned dealerships[96][97][87] (although many manufacturers provide online configuration and financing).[98][99][100] Tesla has showrooms in malls and other high-traffic areas.[93][92]

Tesla's manufacturing strategy is to continuously improve the hardware of its cars, rather than waiting for a new model year (as nearly every other car manufacturer does).[83][101]

Tesla's production strategy includes a high degree of vertical integration[102] (80% in 2016[103]), which includes producing vehicle components as well as building proprietary stations where customers can charge Tesla vehicles. Vertical integration is rare in the automotive industry, where companies typically outsource 80% of components to suppliers,[104] and focus on engine manufacturing and final assembly.[105][106]

 
The Tesla Patent Wall at its headquarters was removed after the company announced its patents are part of the open source movement.[107]

Tesla's competitive strategy is to allow its competitors to license its technology. Musk said in July 2020, "Tesla is open to licensing software and supplying powertrains & batteries. We’re just trying to accelerate sustainable energy, not crush competitors!"[108] Musk said in August 2020: "Tesla's long-term competitive advantage will be manufacturing."[109]

Tesla patent strategy is to allow its technology patents to be used by anyone in good faith, in order to promote the electric car industry in general, which Tesla believes will be good for itself.[110] (Licensing agreements include provisions whereby the recipient agrees not to file patent suits against Tesla, or to copy its designs directly.[111]) Tesla retains control of its other intellectual property, such as trademarks and trade secrets to prevent direct copying of its technology.[112]

Vehicle service

Tesla receives service revenue from customers after the initial vehicle purchase and reached almost $500 million in 2020 Q2.[113]

As of August 2020, those services include:

Future services which have been discussed include: Tesla network, Autopilot as a subscription,[114] paying for a WiFi hotspot in the car,[115] and the Tesla app store.[116]

Vehicle servicing

For most vehicle manufacturers, only dealers can service (and sell) the cars, and the manufacturer receives no revenue from servicing cars.[117] Tesla service strategy is to service its vehicles through remote diagnosis and repair,[118] mobile technicians,[119] and Tesla-owned service centers.[120]

In 2016, Tesla recommended to have any Tesla car inspected every 12,500 miles or once a year, whichever comes first.[121] In early 2019, the manual was changed to say: "your Tesla does not require annual maintenance and regular fluid changes," and instead it recommends periodic servicing of the brake fluid, air conditioning, tires and air filters.[122]

At the June 2018 shareholder meeting, Elon Musk stated that Tesla will open body shops in the top ten U.S. metropolitan areas, stocking some body parts, potentially allowing for same-day service.[123] As of June 2020, there are four Tesla-owned body shops in the US.[124]

Charging

Supercharger network

 
Tesla Model S charging at a Supercharger station in Newark, Delaware
 
Tesla superchargers in Toronto, Canada
 
Tesla destination charger in North America

In 2012, Tesla began building a network of 480-volt fast-charging Supercharger stations. As of December 2019, there are 1,716 Supercharger stations operated globally with over 15,000 superchargers.[125] The Supercharger is a proprietary direct current (DC) technology that provides up to 340 hp (250 kW) of power.[126] The navigation software in Tesla cars can recommend the fastest route for long-distance travel, incorporating possible charging delays.[127]

Almost all Tesla cars come standard with Supercharging hardware.[128] Model S and X cars ordered before January 15, 2017 received free unlimited supercharging.[129] Model S and X cars ordered between January 15, 2017 and August 3, 2019 got 400 kWh (1,400 MJ) of free Supercharging credits per year, which provides a range of roughly 1,000 miles per year (1,600 km/a). Between August 3, 2019[130] and May 26, 2020,[131] all Tesla Model S and X cars ordered came with free unlimited supercharging again. Model 3 cars do not come with free unlimited supercharging.[132]

In December 2016, after a complaint sent to Musk via Twitter about abuse, Tesla started charging an "idle" fee (depending on percent occupancy of the Supercharger station[133]) for vehicles that remain plugged into Superchargers after they are fully charged.[134][135]

Destination charging location network

In 2014, Tesla discreetly launched the "Destination Charging Location" Network by providing chargers to hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, resorts and other full service stations to provide on-site vehicle charging at twice the power of a typical home charging station.[136][137][138] On April 25, 2016, Tesla launched European destination charging, with 150 locations and more to be added later.[139] Destination chargers worldwide totaled over 23,900 in mid 2019.[140]

Destination chargers are installed free of charge by Tesla-certified contractors; the locations must provide the electricity at no cost to their customers.[141] All installed chargers appear in the in-car navigation system.[142]

Insurance

Tesla partnered with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company to offer an insurance plan designed specifically for its electric cars. The plan was made available to US customers In October 2017.[143][144] In August 2019, this partnership was superseded by a partnership with State National Insurance designed specifically for its electric cars.[145][146] It was initially only available to Tesla owners in California.[145] In July 2020, Musk, relying on data obtained through their partnership with State National Insurance, announced that Tesla was creating its own major insurance company. The insurance will use individual vehicle date to offer personalized pricing.[147]

On June 4, 2017, the American Automobile Association raised insurance rates for Tesla owners following a report from the Highway Loss Data Institute. The report concluded that the Model S crashes 46% more often and is 50% more expensive to repair than comparable vehicles. Similarly, the Model X was concluded to crash 41% more often and to be 89% more expensive to repair than similar vehicles. As a result, AAA raised insurance rates on Tesla cars by 30%. Tesla said that the analysis is "severely flawed and not reflective of reality", however, Tesla failed to provide any contradictory numbers.[148] Shortly thereafter, Russ Rader, the spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, confirmed the AAA's analysis and that "Tesla[']s get into a lot of crashes and are costly to repair afterward".[149][150] The following year, an analysis of claim frequency and insurance cost data by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted by financial research provider 24/7 Wall St. found that the Tesla Model S and Model X were the two most expensive vehicles to insure.[151] Musk hopes that these insurance rates will greatly decrease once driver-assist and self-driving technology become commonplace.[151]

Software upgrades

Tesla offers the following over-the-air software upgrades after customers purchase their car:

  • Basic Autopilot[152]
  • Full Self Driving[153]
  • Acceleration boost (for Model 3 owners)[154]
  • Rear-heated seats (for Model 3 owners)[155]

Connectivity

All Tesla cars come with "Standard Connectivity" which provides navigation using a cellular connection, and video streaming, internet browsing, and music streaming (with a paid subscription) only over WiFi and/or Bluetooth.[156] "Premium Connectivity" adds cellular access to live traffic, satellite maps, and music streaming, as well as video streaming, browsing the internet and "caraoke" when parked.[157][158][156]

Technology

As a vertically integrated manufacturer, Tesla has had to research and develop components in multiple technology domains, including batteries, motors, sensors, glass, and artificial intelligence.

Vehicle batteries

 
Tesla Powerpack batteries used at a Supercharger station.

Unlike all other automakers, Tesla does not use individual large battery cells, but thousands of small, cylindrical, lithium-ion commodity cells like those used in consumer electronics.[159][160] Tesla uses a version of these cells that is designed to be cheaper to manufacture and lighter than standard cells by removing some safety features; according to Tesla, these features are redundant because of the advanced thermal management system and an intumescent chemical in the battery to prevent fires.[161]

The batteries are placed under the vehicle floor. This saves interior and trunk (boot) space but increases the risk of battery damage by debris or impact. After two vehicle fires in 2013 due to road debris, the Model S was retrofitted with a multi-part aluminum and titanium protection system to reduce the possibility of damage.[162]

In 2016, former Tesla CTO Straubel expected batteries to last 10–15 years,[163] and discounted using electric cars to charge the grid (V2G) because the related battery wear outweighs economic benefit.[164] He also preferred recycling over re-use for grid once they reach the end of their useful life for vehicles.[164][165] Beginning in 2008, Tesla worked with ToxCo/Kinsbursky to recycle worn out RoHS batteries.[166][167][168] As of April 2019, Tesla has filed paperwork to recycle vehicle and test batteries using its own facilities at Giga Nevada.[169]

Starting in 2016, Tesla established a 5-year battery research and development partnership at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, featuring lead researcher Jeff Dahn.[170][171][172] Tesla acquired two battery companies in 2019: Hibar Systems and Maxwell Technologies. All three are expected to play an important role in Tesla's battery strategy.[173][174]

Current generation batteries

Panasonic is the sole supplier of the cells in the U.S., and cooperates with Tesla in producing "2170" (21 mm (0.83 in) wide by 70 mm (2.8 in) tall) batteries at Giga Nevada.[175] Tesla's battery cells in China are supplied by Panasonic and CATL, and are the more traditional prismatic cells used by other automakers.[176]

As of August 2020, Panasonic produces 35GWh per year of the 2170 batteries at Giga Nevada.[177]

Some analysts believe that Tesla had a $42 ($158 versus $200) per kWh advantage over other vehicle battery manufacturers in 2019 due to its advanced engineering and scale of the Giga Nevada battery manufacturing.[160]

Next generation batteries

During Tesla's Battery Day event on September 22, 2020, Tesla announced the next generation of their batteries, featuring a tabless battery design that will increase the range and decrease the price of Tesla vehicles.[178] The new battery is named the "4680" in reference to its dimensions: 46 mm (1.8 in) wide by 80 mm (3.1 in) tall.[179]

Musk announced plans to manufacture the 4680 batteries in the Tesla Fremont Factory.[180][181] Tesla expects to produce 10 GWh of the 4680 batteries per year "in about a year", 100 GWh by 2023, and 3,000 GWh by 2030.[179]

Tesla expects the new batteries will be 56% cheaper and allow the cars to travel 54% more miles.[182] The price drop breaks down as:

  • 18% from a modified production process (which was developed after analyzing the production process of the paper industry and bottling plants);
  • 14% from a different battery design;
  • 12% for cheaper resources for the cathode;
  • 7% from integration into the vehicle; and
  • 5% from cheaper resources for the anode.[183]

BloombergNEF estimates Tesla's battery pack (not cell) price in 2019 at $128 per kWh, so that would mean a price of $56 per kWh in 3 years, if Tesla is able to achieve its goals.[184][185] Many analysts believe that a battery pack price of $100 per kWh is the point at which the purchase price of electric cars is likely to be lower than comparable gasoline-powered cars, which will be an important milestone.[186][187][188]

Motors

Tesla makes two kinds of electric motors. Their oldest currently-produced design is a three-phase four-pole AC induction motor with a copper rotor[189] (which inspired the Tesla logo), which is used as the rear motor in the Model S and Model X. Newer, higher-efficiency permanent magnet motors are used in the Model 3, Model Y, the front motor of 2019-onward versions of the Model S and X, and is expected to be used in the Semi.[190] The permanent magnet motors increase efficiency, especially in stop-start driving.[191]

Glass

In November 2016, the company announced the Tesla glass technology group. The group produced the roof glass for the Tesla Model 3 and for use in SolarCity roof tiles announced in October 2016.[192] The roof tiles contain an embedded solar collector, and are one-third lighter than standard roof tiles.[193]

Autopilot

Tesla states that Autopilot is "designed to assist drivers with the most burdensome parts of driving" in order to make Tesla cars "safer and more capable over time."[194] Tesla states that current (as of July 2020) Autopilot features require active driver supervision[195] and do not make the vehicle autonomous.[194][196]

Starting in September 2014, all Tesla cars are shipped with sensors and software to support Autopilot (initially hardware version 1 or "HW1").[197] Tesla upgraded its sensors and software in October 2016 ("HW2") to support full self-driving in the future.[196][198] HW2 includes eight cameras, twelve ultrasonic sensors, and forward-facing radar.[196][198] HW2.5 was released in mid-2017, and it upgraded HW2 with a second graphics process unit (GPU) and, for the Model 3 only, a driver-facing camera.[199] HW3 was released in early 2019.[200]

In April 2019, Tesla announced that all of its cars will include Autopilot software (defined as just Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer (Beta)) as a standard feature moving forward.[194][201] Full self-driving software (Autopark, Navigate on Autopilot (Beta), Auto Lane Change (Beta), Summon (Beta), Smart Summon (Beta) and future abilities) is an extra cost option.[194]

On April 24, 2020, Tesla released a software update to Autopilot. With this update, cars recognize and automatically stop at stop signs. The cars also automatically slow down and eventually stop at traffic lights (even if they are green), and the driver indicates that it is safe to proceed through the traffic light.[202] Tesla acknowledges that the software is still in a beta test phase and far from being finished.[203]

Full self-driving

Approach

Tesla's approach to achieve full self-driving (FSD) is different from that of other companies.[204] Whereas Waymo, Cruise, and other companies are relying on LIDAR, highly detailed (centimeter-scale) three-dimensional maps, and cameras (as well as radar and ultrasonic sensors) in their autonomous vehicles,[205][206][204][207] Tesla's approach is to use coarse-grained two-dimensional maps and cameras in addition to radar and ultrasonic sensors.[208][209] Tesla claims that although its approach is much more difficult, it will ultimately be more useful, because its vehicles will be able to self-drive without geofencing concerns.[210][211] Musk has argued that a system that relies on centimeter-scale three-dimensional maps is "extremely brittle" because it is not able to adapt when the physical environment changes.[212]

Tesla's self-driving software has been trained based on 3 billion miles driven by Tesla vehicles, as of April 2020.[213][214] Alongside tens of millions of miles of real-world training,[215] competitors have trained their software on tens of billions of miles in computer simulations, as of January 2020.[216] Musk has argued that simulated miles are not able to capture the "weirdness" of the real world, and therefore will not be sufficient to train the software.[212]

In terms of computing hardware, Tesla designed a self-driving computer chip that has been installed in its cars since March 2019[217] and also developed a neural network training supercomputer;[218][219] other vehicle automation companies such as Waymo regularly use custom chipsets and neural networks as well.[220][221]

Criticism

Most experts believe that Tesla's approach of trying to achieve full self-driving by eschewing LIDAR and high-definition maps is not feasible.[222][223] Auto analyst Brad Templeton has criticized Tesla's approach by arguing, "The no-map approach involves forgetting what was learned before and doing it all again."[224] In a March 2020 study by Navigant Research, Tesla was ranked last for both strategy and execution in the autonomous driving sector.[225]

Schedule & FSD Beta

At the end of 2016, Tesla expected to demonstrate full autonomy by the end of 2017,[226][227] and in April 2017, Musk predicted that in around two years, drivers would be able to sleep in their vehicle while it drives itself.[228] In 2018 Tesla revised the date to demonstrate full autonomy to be by the end of 2019.[229] In January 2020, Musk stated that the full self-driving software would be "feature complete" by the end of 2020, and added that feature complete "doesn't mean that features are working well."[230]

On October 22, 2020, Tesla released a "beta" version of its full self-driving software to a small group of testers.[231] Musk stated that the testing "Will be extremely slow & cautious, as it should," and "be limited to a small number of people who are expert & careful drivers".[231] The release of beta FSD has renewed concern regarding whether the technology is ready for testing on public roads.[232][233]

Tesla plans to release a monthly subscription package for Full Self-Driving in 2021.[234]

Vehicle models

 
Comparison of EPA-rated range for model year 2020 electric cars rated up until January 2020.[235]

As of March 2020, Tesla offers four car models: the Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y. The firm's first vehicle, the first-generation Tesla Roadster is no longer sold.

Production

Model S

The Model S is a five-door liftback sedan. Deliveries began on June 22, 2012.[236] The first delivery in Europe took place in August 2013.[237] Deliveries in China began in April 2014.[238] Deliveries of the right-hand-drive model destined for the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan began in 2014.[239] As of April 2020, the Model S has two configurations: the Model S Long Range Plus, and the Model S Performance with EPA ranges of 391 miles (629 km) and 348 miles (560 km), respectively.[240]

 
Norway is the Model S' largest European market due to the country's incentives for the adoption of pure electric cars.

The Model S was the best-selling plug-in electric car worldwide for the years 2015 and 2016, selling an estimated 50,931 units in 2016.[241][242] As of September 2018, the Model S, with global sales of 250,000 units, listed as the world's second best selling plug-in electric car in history after the Nissan Leaf (over 350,000 units).[243][244][245][246][247]

As of September 2018, the United States listed as the world's leading Model S market with an estimated 136,542 units sold.[248] Norway ranked as the Model S' largest overseas market as of November 2016,[249] with 11,802 new units registered.[250][251][252] The Tesla Model S became the first electric car to top the monthly sales ranking in any country, when the electric car achieved first place in the Norwegian new car sales list in September 2013.[253][254][255]

For the European market, final assembly and European Distribution occur at the Tesla facilities in Tilburg, Netherlands. Cars are built and tested in Fremont; then the battery pack, the electric motor and parts are disassembled and shipped separately to Tilburg, where they are reassembled.[256]

Among other awards, the Model S won the 2019 Motor Trend "Ultimate Car of the Year",[257] 2013 "Motor Trend Car of the Year",[258] the 2013 "World Green Car",[259] Automobile magazine's 2013 "Car of the Year",[260] and Time magazine's Best 25 Inventions of the Year 2012 award.[261]

In June 2020, Tesla announced that the Model S Long Range Plus had an EPA range of 402 miles (647 km), the highest of any battery electric car.[262]

Model 3

 
Tesla Model 3 production model

The Model 3 (originally stylized as "☰"), a four-door sedan, is Tesla's third-generation car.[78] The car was originally intended to be called the Model E, but after a lawsuit from Ford that holds the trademark on "Model E",[263] Musk announced on July 16, 2014 that the car would be called "Model 3" instead (Musk wanted the first three models to spell "SEX", but he settled for "S3X"[264]).

On March 31, 2016, Tesla unveiled the car.[265] Potential customers began to reserve spots on March 31 with a refundable deposit. Tens of thousands were reported waiting to reserve their spot.[266] As of April 7, 2016, one week after the unveiling, Tesla reported over 325,000 reservations,[267][268] representing sales of over $14 billion.[269] As of July 2017, Tesla reported about 500,000 reservations.[270] Bloomberg News claimed "the Model 3's unveiling was unique in the 100-year history of the mass-market automobile." Bloomberg compared it to the 1955 Citroën DS that took in 80,000 deposits over 10 days at the Paris Auto Show.[271]

 
First production Tesla Model 3 cars ready for the delivery event on July 28, 2017

Tesla expected to invest $2–2.5 billion in capital expenditures to support Model 3 production.[272] Limited vehicle production began in July 2017,[272] with the first 30 units delivered at a special event on July 28.[273] Customer deliveries totaled 1,764 units in the U.S. in 2017.[274][275] In June 2018 production reached 5,000 per week.[276] In January 2019, Tesla announced it would cut its full-time workforce by 7% – equal to about 3,150 employees – in order to reduce the cost of the Model 3 from $44,000 to $35,000.[277] Musk explained that while the company had “made great progress, our products are still too expensive for most people … There isn’t any other way.”[278]

Global deliveries passed the 100,000 unit milestone in October 2018.[279] The Model 3 topped plug-in electric car sales in the U.S. in 2018,[280][281] marking the first time a plug-in car sold more than 100,000 units in a single year (139,782).[282] Also, it was listed as the best selling plug-in car in California in 2018 (51,293).[283][284] The Tesla Model 3 also ranked as the world's best selling plug-in electric passenger car in 2018, with 146,000 units delivered.[285]

In January 2019, the Model 3 passed the Model S to become the top selling all-electric car in the U.S. ever,[286] and, the next month, also passed the Chevrolet Volt to become the all-time best-selling plug-in electric car in the U.S.[287] On February 28, 2019, Tesla announced that they would begin to roll out the Standard Range base model starting at $35,000.[288][289]

The Tesla Model 3 ended 2019 as the world's best selling plug-in electric car for the second consecutive year, with just over 300,000 units delivered.[285][290] The electric car also topped annual plug-in car sales in the U.S. (158,925) and California (59,514) markets for the second time in a row.[280][283][291][292] The Model 3 also ranked as the best selling plug-in car in Europe in 2019, with over 95,000 units delivered during its first year in that market.[293]

 
By early 2019, the Tesla Model 3 became the world's all-time best selling plug-in electric car.[16]

The Model 3 also set records in Norway and the Netherlands, listing in both countries not only as the top selling plug-in car but also as the best selling passenger car model in the overall market in 2019.[294][295] The sales volume achieved by the Model 3 in 2019 (15,683) is the third largest in Norwegian history.[296] The Model 3 also set a new record in the Netherlands for the highest registrations in one month (22,137) for any single plug-in vehicle in Europe.[297] The Model 3 also was the top selling plug-in car in Canada, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Mexico.[298][299]

As of December 2019, 448,634 Model 3 cars have been delivered worldwide.[300] The Model 3 surpassed the Nissan Leaf in early 2020 to become the world's all-time best selling electric car, with more than 500,000 sold by March 2020.[16]

As of April 2020, the Tesla Model 3 has four trims: Standard Range Plus RWD, Dual Motor AWD Long Range, Performance and the off-the-menu $35,000 standard range,[301] with EPA ranges of 250 miles (400 km), 322 miles (518 km), 322 miles (518 km), and 220 miles (350 km) respectively.[302]

Model X

 
Elon Musk delivering one of the first six Model X Founders Series models

The Tesla Model X is a mid-size crossover SUV with a lightweight aluminum body.[303] Model X deliveries started in September 2015.[304] It is offered in 5-, 6- and 7-passenger configurations. The passenger doors are articulating "falcon-wing" designs that open vertically.

Production was rescheduled several times, from 2013 to late 2014,[305] to the second quarter of 2015,[306] to the third quarter of 2015.[307] In August 2015, user groups estimated around 30,000 X pre-orders, compared to 12,000 for the S.[308]

Deliveries of the Model X Signature series began on September 29, 2015. Model X sales totaled 2,400 units during the first quarter of 2016, rising to 4,638 in the second quarter of 2016. Global deliveries totaled 25,312 units in 2016,[241] and 46,535 in 2017.[241][309][310][311][312]

In September 2016, the Model X ranked as the top selling plug-in electric car in Norway.[313][314] Previously, the Model S had been the top selling new car four times.[313] Cumulative sales since inception totaled 106,689 units through September 2018.[241][309][310][311][312][243][244][245] The United States is its main market with an estimated 57,327 units sold through September 2018.[248]

Model Y

In August 2013, Tesla trademarked the name "Model Y".[315] In October 2015, Musk described a future "Model Y".[316] In August 2017, Tesla announced that the Model Y would use the Model 3 platform.[317]

In February 2018, Tesla announced that they would unveil Model Y production plans within the next 3–6 months[318] and posted open positions for Model Y production and design. In May 2018, Musk said that the Model Y will be built on a platform that shares many components with the Model 3, and that the Model Y will be in production at the earliest in early 2020.[319] In July 2018, Musk rescheduled the Model Y unveiling to be March 2019.[320] In March 2019, Musk tweeted, "Model Y unveil event on March 14 at LA Design Studio"[321] also adding that "the Model Y would be 10% bigger than the Model 3 so would cost 10% more".[322]

The Model Y unveiling occurred on March 14, 2019.[323] The car will have up to three rows of seats (up to 7 people), 66 cu ft (2 m3) of cargo space with the second and third rows folded, and will have a range of up to 300 miles (480 km).[323]

As of January 2020, the Tesla Model Y is being manufactured at Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA.[324] In the future, the Model Y is also planned to be built at Giga Shanghai (late 2020),[325] and the yet-to-be-built Giga Berlin, newly announced in November 2019.[326] Deliveries for the Model Y started on March 13, 2020.

Unveiled

Roadster (second generation)

 
Tesla Roadster 2020 prototype at the launch event in November 2017

Through a surprise reveal at the end of the event that introduced the Semi on November 16, 2017, Tesla unveiled the 2020 Roadster. Musk said that the new model will have a range of 620 miles (1,000 km) on the 200 kWh (720 MJ) battery pack and will achieve 0–60 mph in 1.9 seconds; it also will achieve 0–100 mph in 4.2 seconds,[327] and the top speed will be over 250 mph (400 km/h). The vehicle will have three electric motors allowing for all-wheel drive, and torque vectoring during cornering and the SpaceX Package which will include SpaceX cold air thrusters that will increase the speed even more.[328]

At the time, the base price was set at $200,000 while the first 1,000 units, the Founder's series, would sell for $250,000.[328] Reservations required a deposit of $50,000, and those who ordered the Founder's series paid the $250,000 in full upon ordering. Those who made a reservation at the event were allowed a test drive with a driver in the prototype.[329]

Tesla Semi

 
Tesla Semi truck

The Tesla Semi is an all-electric Class 8 semi-trailer truck first mentioned in the 2016 Tesla Master plan.[330]

The vehicle's official announcement was at a November 16, 2017 press conference where two prototypes were shown. Musk confirmed that two variants would be available: one with 300 miles (480 km) and one with 500 miles (800 km) of range, and that the 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time would be 5 seconds versus 15 seconds for a similar truck with a diesel engine.[331] The Semi will be powered by four electric motors of the type used in the Tesla Model 3 and will include an extensive set of hardware sensors to enable it to stay in its own lane, a safe distance away from other vehicles, and later, when software and regulatory conditions allow, provide self-driving operation on highways.[332] Musk also announced that the company would be involved in installing a solar-powered global network of the Tesla Megacharger devices to make the Semi more attractive to potential long-haul customers. A 30-minute charge would provide 400 miles (640 km) of range.[333][334]

Musk initially said in 2017 that Semi deliveries would start in 2019 and selling 100,000 trucks a year, but Tesla later announced that it was delaying production and delivery of the Semi until 2021. Part of the reason for this delay, according to Musk, is that the Semi includes five times more battery cells than their passenger cars, and the battery supply is not yet sufficient for both Tesla cars and the Semi.[335][336]

Cybertruck

The Cybertruck was unveiled on November 21, 2019, with production set for late 2021.[337][338] Five days after the reveal, Musk tweeted that Cybertruck had more than 250,000 pre-orders, though customers only had to put down a $100 fully-refundable deposit.[339][340]

There will be three versions of Tesla’s Cybertruck. The most expensive and best-equipped Cybertruck will have the ability to travel 500 miles on a full charge, reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 2.9 seconds, travel a quarter mile in under 10 seconds, have a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h) and tow 14,000 pounds (6,400 kg).[341][342]

Tesla claimed that the Cybertruck's "Armor Glass" windows were virtually unbreakable, but two windows shattered when a Tesla executive threw a metal ball at them during the public unveiling.[343] Many online critics made fun of the truck's angular design, and questioned whether pickup truck buyers will have interest in the Cybertruck.[344][345][346] James Goodwin, chief executive of an Australian car safety organization, says that the angular design and steel construction of the Cybertruck may pose safety risks.[347] The Cybertruck prototype that was unveiled lacked features such as side mirrors, windshield wipers, headlights, and brake lights that are needed to be street legal.[348]

The Tesla Cybertruck appeared in May 2020 on the show Jay Leno’s Garage.[349]

During Tesla's 2020 Battery Day Event, Musk revealed roughly 600,000 Cybertruck preorders.[350] In November of 2020, Elon Musk announced the redesign of the CyberTruck.[351]

Cyberquad

 
Tesla Cyberquad

In 2019, during the unveiling of Tesla's Cybertruck, Musk unveiled the Cyberquad, an electric four-wheel all-terrain vehicle , to show off the loading capacity of the Cybertruck's bed. [352] The Cyberquad was announced to be a two-person vehicle that can be charged using either of the Cybertruck's 110-volt or 240-volt power outlets.[353]

On Tesla's 2020 Battery Day Event, Musk brought a prototype of the Cyberquad to showcase it as an optional accessory for Cybertruck buyers in 2021. [354]

Discontinued

Roadster (first generation)

The Tesla Roadster is a battery electric vehicle (BEV) sports car, evolved from the Lotus Elise chassis,[355] that was produced by Tesla Motors (now Tesla, Inc.) in California from 2008 to 2012. The Roadster was the first highway legal serial production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production all-electric car to travel more than 320 km (200 miles) per charge. It is also the first production car to be launched into orbit, carried by a Falcon Heavy rocket in a test flight on February 6, 2018.[356]

Other concepts

On July 20, 2016, Musk detailed his new master plan for Tesla. It includes more affordable cars produced in higher volume, solar roofs, mid-size vehicles, SUVs and pickup trucks, as well as the refinement of autonomous vehicles and the creation of a sharing economy, in which cars can be active while the owner is not using them.[357] Tesla intended to build a minibus on the Model X platform.[358] In May 2017, Musk indicated that he might favor a 10-12 passenger version of the Model X over a dedicated minibus design.[359] Musk put to rest hopes for a Tesla motorcycle, saying "we’re not going to do motorcycles".[360]

Car cheaper than Model 3

In 2016, Musk revealed Tesla's intention to produce a car cheaper than the Model 3.[361] In 2018, Musk indicated a plan to enter a new market segment, offering a compact hatchback in "less than five years".[362][363] He provided no details, and dodged a question about also producing a subcompact.

At Battery Day in 2020, Musk said Tesla expects to have a $25,000 electric car within 3 years, which "will basically be on-par or slightly better than a comparable gasoline car".[364] Having the purchase price of an electric car be comparable to a gasoline-powered car will be an important milestone because most experts consider the annual energy and maintenance costs of electric cars to be less than gasoline-powered cars.[365][366]

Robotaxi

In April 2019, Musk announced Tesla's intention to launch an autonomous taxi service by the end of 2020 using more than 1 million Tesla vehicles.[367] A year later, in April 2020, Musk stated Tesla would not make the end of 2020 deadline but said ""we'll have the functionality necessary for full self-driving by the end of the year [2020]."[368]

Battery products

History

In April 2015, the company unveiled its Powerwall home and Powerpack industrial battery packs,[369][370][371] and received orders valued at $800 million within a week of the unveiling.[372] The two Powerwall models included a 7 kWh (25 MJ) unit and a 10 kWh (36 MJ) unit, both with 2 kW (2.7 hp) continuous power. The Powerpacks were larger-scale configurations for industrial users in units of 100 kWh (360 MJ). The company planned to open source its patents for the entire range. In September, 2020, Tesela announced an increase in pricing to the Powerwall product line due to increased demand.[373]

In October 2016, Tesla unveiled the Powerwall 2 with 5 kW (6.7 hp) continuous power and 13.5 kWh (49 MJ) capacity.[374]

Initial cells were made by Panasonic. In 2017, production was shifted to Giga Nevada,[375] where Tesla expected costs to drop by 30%.[369]

Deployments

In September 2016, Tesla announced it had been chosen "through a competitive process" to supply Southern California Edison (SCE) with 20 MW (27,000 hp) power and 80 MWh (290 GJ) energy of battery storage.[376] In May 2016, regulators had ordered SCE to invest in utility-scale battery systems to compensate local power supply after natural gas provider Southern California Gas leaked 1.6 million pounds (730 t) of methane into the atmosphere when a well ruptured at its Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, closing it permanently.[377][clarification needed]

In November 2016, American Samoa's island of Ta'u, with a population of approximately 600, was converted to a solar and battery microgrid from diesel-based energy generation.[378] In 2018, two microgrid projects were built in Samoa on the main island of Upolu: one at the Fiaga power station and one at the Faleolo International Airport.[379]

After Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Elon Musk offered to work with Puerto Rico's government in rebuilding the island's electrical grid. In October 2017, Tesla brought 700 solar panels to the "Hospital del Niño," where the batteries helped bring care back to 3,000 patients who needed constant care.[380]

In June 2017, Hawaii's Kauai island received a 13 MW solar and 52 MWh battery installation.[381][382] In July 2017, Tesla won a contract to install the world's biggest grid-scale lithium battery in South Australia by promising installation within 100 days.[383] The Hornsdale Power Reserve with total power capacity of 100 MW (130,000 hp) and 129 MWh (460 GJ) was connected to the grid on December 1, 2017.[384]

In July 2019, Tesla unveiled Megapack, a containerized battery product for utility-scale projects. Each Megapack comes fully assembled from the factory with up to 3 MWh (11 GJ) of storage and 1.5 MW (2,000 hp) of inverter capacity.[385]

In February 2020, Pacific Gas and Electric Company received approval to deploy 449 Megapacks at the Moss Landing substation in Monterey County, California, to provide 182.5 MW of power and 730 MWh of energy storage capacity.[clarification needed] When operational in 2021, it will be the world's largest battery storage installation by a significant margin.[386]

Facilities

In addition to its corporate headquarters, the company operates multiple large factories for making vehicles and their components. The company operates[387] showrooms and galleries around the world.[388]

Opened Name City Country Employees Products Notes
2010 Tesla Factory Fremont, California   United States 10,000 Tesla Model S
Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model X
Tesla Model Y
Tesla Roadster (2020)
Previously a NUMMI factory.
2013 Tesla facilities in Tilburg Tilburg   Netherlands Tesla Model S
Tesla Model X
Tesla's first factory outside of the United States. Final EU assembly of major components from US.
2016 Giga Nevada Storey County, Nevada   United States 7,000 Lithium-ion batteries
Tesla Powerwall
Tesla Powerpack
Tesla Megapack
Also known as Gigafactory 1.
2017 Giga New York Buffalo, New York   United States 1,500 Photovoltaic cells
Solar panels
Solar shingles
Supercharger equipment
Also known as Gigafactory 2.
2019 Giga Shanghai Shanghai   China 2,000[389] Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model Y
Also known as Gigafactory 3. Tesla's first Gigafactory outside of the United States.
2021 Giga Berlin Grünheide, Brandenburg   Germany 10,000[390] Lithium-ion batteries
Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model Y
Also known as Gigafactory 4. Tesla's first Gigafactory in Europe.
2021 Giga Texas Austin, Texas   United States 5,000[391] Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model Y

Tesla Semi[392]

Also known as Gigafactory 5.
Key
  Denotes factories that have not yet opened

United States

 
New Tesla Model S cars at the Tesla Factory in 2012

Tesla was founded in San Carlos, California.[393] Tesla's first retail stores were in Los Angeles,[394] in Menlo Park, California[395] and in Manhattan's Chelsea art district, followed by others in major US cities.[396] In 2010, Tesla moved its corporate headquarters and opened a powertrain development facility in Palo Alto.[397]

As of 2018, Tesla has service centers in 25 states,[398][399] referring owners with shell damage to approved third-party body shops. In May 2020, after California's government had refused to let the Tesla factory reopen after a COVID-19 lockdown, Elon Musk said that he is going to move the company's headquarters from California to Texas or Nevada.[400]

Factories

Tesla's first assembly plant occupies the former NUMMI plant in Fremont, California.[401][402] It is known as the Tesla Factory.[403] As of 2016, the plant was not highly automated—it was expected to produce some 80,000 cars with 6,000 workers compared to a "typical" plant that might produce 250,000 cars with 3,000 workers.[404] The 370-acre (1,500,000 m2) site includes a 5,500,000-square-foot (510,000 m2) building complex.[405]

In 2015, Tesla acquired Riviera Tool & Die (with 100 employees in Grand Rapids, Michigan), one of its suppliers of stamping items.[406][407] They initially renamed the facility "Tesla Michigan",[408][409] and subsequently refer to the facility as Tesla Tool and Die.[410][411][needs update] In 2017, Tesla acquired Perbix Machine Company,[where?] a manufacturer of automated manufacturing equipment, that had been an equipment supplier for over three years.[412][413] In December 2017, Tesla acquired the factory automation firm Compass Automation of Elgin, Illinois, with expertise in automated assembly and inspection systems; by the end of 2018 the company was working exclusively for Tesla.[414]

By 2015, Tesla also occupied a second factory in Fremont. The building is more than 500,000 sq ft (46,500 m2). The location is next to a SolarCity facility, a few miles from the original Fremont plant.[415]

Giga Nevada—originally Gigafactory, and later Gigafactory 1—is located outside Reno, Nevada. As of January 2017, it occupied 1.9 million square feet (180,000 m2) with 4.9 million square feet (460,000 m2) of usable area across several floors.[416] It produces Powerwalls and Powerpacks[417][418] as well as battery cells[419] in partnership with Panasonic. It also produces Model 3 battery packs and drivetrains.[420] The factory received substantial subsidies from the local and state governments.[421]

Giga New York is located in Buffalo, New York, on the site of a former Republic Steel plant. It is operated by Tesla's SolarCity unit. The factory is a $750 million, 1.2-million-square-foot (0.11 km2) facility that directly employs 500 workers. Tesla partnered with Panasonic to assemble photovoltaic panel modules. Tesla received incentives to locate the factory in Buffalo through the Buffalo Billion program.[422][423][424][425] As of August 2017, the factory added production of solar tiles for the Tesla Solar Roof.[426] In January 2018, Tesla announced, after testing on employees' roofs, that it would begin installing the Tesla Solar Roof on customers' homes "within the next few months".[427] Tesla announced Version 3 of the Solar Roof in October 2019, claiming that they achieved economic viability to be cost competitive for installations where a new roof is needed and residential solar power is desired. In March 2020, Tesla produced 4MW of Solar Roof in one week, enough for up to 1,000 homes (assuming 4 kW per roof).[428] However, the "overwhelming majority" of the solar cells produced at the factory were being sold overseas, rather than being used in Tesla's Solar Roof.[429] In June 2020, Tesla began canceling and refunding Solar Roof orders (after years of taking deposits) in areas where Tesla is not planning a service territory.[430]

 
Golden Driller statue with Tesla branding during Tulsa, Oklahoma's bid for Gigafactory 5

On July 23, 2020, Tesla picked Austin, Texas, as the site of Gigafactory 5.[431] Tesla aims to have up and running by the end of 2021. The factory is planned to be the main factory for the Tesla Cybertruck and the Tesla Semi; it will also produce Model 3 and Model Y cars for the Eastern United States.[431][432][392]

Canada

 
Tesla store in Toronto

Tesla's first "new design" store opened on November 16, 2012, in the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, Ontario. As of March 2019, a total of nine Tesla stores/galleries operated in Montreal, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver.

Europe

 
Tesla showroom in Munich, Germany

Tesla opened its first European store in June 2009 in London.[433][434] Tesla's European headquarters are in Amsterdam.[435] A 62,000 sq ft (5,800 m2) European service center operates in Tilburg, Netherlands, along with a 77,650 m2 (835,800 sq ft) assembly facility that adds drivetrain, battery and software to the (imported) car body to reduce EU import tax.[436][437][438]

In late 2016, Tesla acquired German engineering firm Grohmann Engineering in Prüm as a new division dedicated to helping Tesla increase the automation and effectiveness of its manufacturing process.[439] After winding down existing contracts with other auto manufacturers, Grohmann works exclusively on Tesla projects.[440] As of February 2018, Tesla is building a small research and development office in Athens, Greece.[441][442]

In June 2014[443] Tesla announced, and again confirmed in November 2016, its long-term plans to build a car and battery Gigafactory in Europe.[444] Several countries have campaigned to host.[445] and in July 2018, it was reported that Tesla was exploring locating Gigafactory 4 in either Germany or the Netherlands.[446] A location and plans to begin construction near Berlin were announced in November 2019.[447] In 2020, after anti-Tesla protests and environmentalists' victory in the court, the car-maker was forced to temporarily stop preparations for the launch of a factory in Germany.[448]

Asia

 
Tesla Motor's showroom in Aoyama, Tokyo, which was the first showroom opened in Japan.

By 2013, showrooms and service centers operated in Hong Kong,[449] Beijing and Shanghai.[450] Tesla opened its first Japanese showroom in Tokyo, Japan, in October 2010.[451] In South Korea, it opened two showrooms in March 2017[452] and a service center in late 2017.[453] In August, 2017, Taiwan opened its first service center and showroom.[454]

Giga Shanghai

In July 2018, Tesla signed an agreement with Chinese authorities to build a factory in Shanghai, China, which is Tesla's first Gigafactory outside of the United States.[455] The groundbreaking ceremony was held on January 7, 2019.[456] The factory building was finished in August 2019, and the initial Tesla Model 3s were in production from Giga Shanghai in October 2019.[457]

Middle East

Tesla opened a showroom and a service center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2017 as the first expansion of Tesla in the Middle East. Five ultra-fast superchargers were also built between cities with a planned 50 destination chargers in the United Arab Emirates by the end of 2017.[458] The Dubai Department of Economic Development stated that it will assist Tesla expansion across the United Arab Emirates as well as neighboring countries in the Middle East.[459] One of the first Tesla customers was Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority which ordered 200 Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles that were added to Dubai Taxi Corporation's fleet.[460] In May 2017 the service center and store in Amman, Jordan was opened.[461] In January 2020 a "pop-up" store in Tel Aviv, Israel was opened and an R&D center.[462]

Australia

Tesla opened a showroom in Sydney's Martin Place in 2010,[463][464] followed by a showroom and service center in Melbourne in 2015.[465] By 2019, Tesla had opened 4 service centers in Australia.[466]

Tesla installed the world's largest lithium ion battery pack, known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, for the government of South Australia in 2017; to help alleviate energy blackouts in the state. Tesla met Elon Musk's guarantee of installation in 100 days or it would be free.[467][468]

South America

In February 2020, several news sites reported that Tesla was negotiating with the Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Marcos Pontes to build a Gigafactory in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.[469][470] The rumours were later confirmed by the Brazilian government.[471] Brazil wants to have Tesla in the country, not only selling its cars but also producing them there. Tesla vehicles could then be exported to other nearby markets, such as Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Colombia, the Caribbean region, and even Mexico, a country with which Brazil has a free trade agreement. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro stated on his Twitter account that he will be going to the United States in March to visit one of Tesla's facilities, hoping to finalize the deal.[472]

Partners

Current Partners

Panasonic

On January 7, 2010, Tesla and battery cell maker Panasonic announced that they would together develop nickel-based lithium-ion battery cells for electric vehicles. Naoto Noguchi, President of Panasonic's Energy Company, said that the Japanese firm's cells would be used for Tesla's "current and next-generation EV battery pack."[473] The partnership was part of Panasonic's $1 billion investment over three years in facilities for lithium-ion cell research, development and production.[474]

 
Panasonic Energy Company President Naoto Noguchi presented Tesla CTO JB Straubel with the first lithium-ion cells from Panasonic's facility in Suminoe-ku, Osaka, Japan.

Beginning in 2010, Panasonic invested $30 million for a multi-year collaboration on next generation cells designed specifically for electric vehicles.[475] In July 2014, Panasonic reached a basic agreement with Tesla to participate in Giga Nevada.[476] Tesla and Panasonic also collaborate on the manufacturing and production of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at Giga New York in Buffalo, New York.[426][477]

Other Current Partners

Tesla also has a range of minor partnerships, for instance working with Airbnb and hotel chains to install destination chargers at selected locations.[478]

Former Partners

Unlike many traditional manufacturers, Tesla operates as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), manufacturing powertrain components for other automakers. Tesla has had partnerships with other auto manufacturers, such as Daimler and Toyota.

Daimler AG

Daimler AG and Tesla began working together in late 2007. On May 19, 2009, Daimler bought a stake of less than 10% in Tesla for a reported $50 million.[479][480] As part of the collaboration, Herbert Kohler, Vice-President of E-Drive and Future Mobility at Daimler, took a Tesla board seat.[76] On July 13, 2009, Daimler AG sold 40% of its May acquisition to Aabar Investments PJSC. Aabar is an Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle.[481][482] In October 2014, Daimler sold its remaining holdings for a reported $780 million.[483]

Freightliner

Tesla supplied battery packs for Freightliner Trucks' Custom Chassis electric van in 2010.[484][485]

Mercedes-Benz A-Class
 
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive uses a battery pack developed by Tesla.[486]

Tesla built electric-powertrain components for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-Cell, an electric car with a range of 120 mi (200 km) and 214 lbf⋅ft (290 N⋅m) of torque. The 36 kWh (130 MJ) battery contained approximately 4,000 lithium-ion cells.[487] 500 cars were planned to be built for trial in Europe beginning in September 2011.[488][489]

Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED

Tesla produced and co-developed the Mercedes-Benz B250e's powertrain, which ended production in 2017.[490] The electric motor was rated 134 hp (100 kW) and 230 pound force-feet (310 N⋅m), with a 36 kWh (130 MJ) battery. The vehicle had a driving range of 200 km (124 mi) with a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).[491]

Smart cars

Smart ED2s had a 14-kilowatt-hour (50 MJ) lithium-ion battery and a powertrain from Tesla.[492]

Mobileye

Initial versions of Autopilot on HW1 were developed in partnership with Mobileye beginning around February 2014.[493] Mobileye ended the partnership on July 26, 2016.[494]

Toyota

On May 20, 2010, Tesla and Toyota announced a partnership to work on electric vehicle development, which included Toyota's $50 million future conditional investment[495] in Tesla and Tesla's $42 million purchase of a portion of the former NUMMI factory.[37][38][40][496] Tesla cooperated on the development of electric vehicles, parts, and production system and engineering support.

In July 2010, the companies announced an agreement to develop a second generation compact Toyota RAV4 EV.[497] A demonstrator vehicle was unveiled at the October 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. Toyota built 35 of these converted RAV4s (Phase Zero vehicles) for a demonstration and evaluation program that ran through 2011. Tesla supplied the lithium metal-oxide battery and other powertrain components[498][499] based on components from the Roadster.[18][500] In August 2012, the production version was unveiled, with some battery pack, electronics and powertrain components being those used in the Tesla Model S sedan (also launched in 2012),[501] The RAV4 EV had a limited production run which resulted in just under 3,000 vehicles being produced.[502] The RAV4 EV left the market in 2014 and there are no known plans to revive the model.[503]

According to Bloomberg News, the partnership between Tesla and Toyota was "marred by clashes between engineers".[504] Toyota engineers rejected designs that Tesla had proposed for an enclosure to protect the RAV4 EV's battery pack; Tesla used a similar design in its Model S sedan, which led to cars catching fire due to punctured battery packs.[504] On June 5, 2017, Toyota announced that it had sold all of its shares in Tesla and halted co-operation, as Toyota had created their own electric car division.[505]

Lawsuits and controversies

Lawsuits

According to the legal advocacy website PlainSite, Tesla has been party to 620 lawsuits as of June 2019.[506] Ongoing cases include Musk's "Funding secured" tweet, CEO performance award, the acquisition of SolarCity, and allegations of whistleblower retaliation.

On-going lawsuits

"Funding secured" − $420 buyout proposal

On August 7, 2018, Elon Musk tweeted, "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured."[507] The tweet caused a furor on social media and in Tesla's investment circle.[508] Tesla's stock price rose quickly after Musk's statement, but crashed after it became clear that Musk's statements were untrue.[509] Musk did not have any funding secured for a possible buyout,[507] and the $420 price was a marijuana reference Musk chose to amuse his girlfriend.[510]

Musk settled fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission over his false statements in September 2018. According to the terms of the settlement: Musk was removed from his chairman role at Tesla temporarily; Tesla and Musk paid civil penalties of $20 million each; two new independent directors were appointed to the company's board; and Musk agreed to have his tweets reviewed by Tesla's in-house counsel.[511] On October 16, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a final judgment approving the terms of the settlement.[512]

A civil class-action shareholder lawsuit over Musk's statements is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.[513] Tesla filed a motion to dismiss the case, but U.S. District Judge Edward Chen denied it in April 2020.[513] The judge determined that Musk's tweets were false and misleading, and noted Musk's long-standing animosity towards short-sellers (such as tweeting weeks earlier "short burn of the century comin [sic] soon") as potential motive for the tweets.[509] As of November 2020, the case is still pending.[514]

Between October 17, 2018, and November 9, 2018, five derivative lawsuits were filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery against Mr. Musk and the members of Tesla's board of directors as then constituted in relation to statements made and actions connected to a potential going-private transaction. These derivative cases are stayed, pending resolution of the broader stockholder class action lawsuit.[512]

Litigation related to 2018 CEO Performance Award

On June 4, 2018, a purported Tesla stockholder filed a putative class and derivative action in the Delaware Court of Chancery against Mr. Musk and the members of Tesla's board of directors as then constituted, alleging that such board members breached their fiduciary duties by approving the stock-based compensation plan. The complaint seeks, among other things, monetary damages and rescission or reformation of the stock-based compensation plan.[512] The trial is set for June 2021.[515]

Musk received the first portion of his stock options payout, worth more than $700 million, in May 2020.[516]

SolarCity acquisition

In 2016, Musk urged investors to approve the SolarCity acquisition despite publicly recusing himself from involvement in the deal.[517] Musk revealed a solar roof tile in October 2016 during an event to gain investor support for the acquisition, but the tile later turned out to be fake.[518] Members of the Tesla skeptic group TSLAQ have cited Musk's solar roof tile reveal as a major point of contention and an impetus for organizing.[518]

Between September and October 2016, shareholders filed seven lawsuits in the Delaware Court of Chancery challenging Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity. The consolidated lawsuit alleges that Elon Musk knew SolarCity was going broke before the acquisition, that he and the board of directors overpaid for SolarCity, ignored their conflicts of interest and breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the deal, and failed to disclose “troubling facts” essential to an analysis of the proposed acquisition.[519] The lawsuit also alleges that SolarCity hid information from its auditors about two payments due to lenders that should have been used to determine SolarCity’s financial condition.[519] Tesla's directors later settled the lawsuit for $60 million in January 2020, leaving Musk as the lone defendant in the case.[520] The case was set for trial in March 2020,[512][521] but has been delayed until "concerns regarding COVID-19 have abated".[522]

Whistleblower retaliation

In June 2018, according to Reveal, former Tesla safety official Carlos Ramirez filed a lawsuit alleging he was fired "in retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions, such as chemical exposures and fires, and for refusing to go along with what he believed to be illegal practices."[523][524] As of December 2020, the case is still pending.[525]

In August 2018, former Tesla security employee Karl Hansen filed a whistleblower complaint accusing Tesla of illegally spying on workers by wiretapping and hacking their electronics, and ignoring or covering up complaints of "rampant theft and drug dealing" at the Nevada Gigafactory, including the alleged theft of more than $37 million worth of copper and other raw materials.[526] The whistleblower later sued Tesla, claiming he was wrongfully fired from his job after filing the complaint. When asked for comment on Hansen's claims via Twitter direct message, Musk said, "This guy is super 🥜."[527] As of July 2020, the judge ordered the case to arbitration.[528]

In January 2019, another former Tesla security manager and Hansen's supervisor Sean Gouthro filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that the company illegally hacked employees' phones and spied on them while also failing to report illegal activities to the authorities and shareholders.[529][530][531] As of March 2020, the judge ordered the case to arbitration.[532]

Resolved lawsuits

Model 3 production numbers

In September 2018, Tesla disclosed that it was under investigation by the FBI regarding its Model 3 production figures.[533] Authorities were investigating whether the company misled investors and made projections about its Model 3 production that it knew would be impossible to meet.[533] In July 2017, Elon Musk tweeted "Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in Dec",[534] but Tesla ended up producing only 2,700 Model 3s for all of 2017.[533]

A stockholder class action lawsuit related to Model 3 production numbers was dismissed in Tesla's favor in March 2019.[535]

Walmart solar panel fires

In August 2019, Walmart filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Tesla, claiming that Tesla's "negligent installation and maintenance" of solar panels caused fires at seven Walmart stores going back to 2012.[536] According to the lawsuit, "Tesla had engaged in widespread, systemic negligence," and Walmart's inspections revealed numerous fire hazards associated with the solar panels, including hotspots, faulty connections, sharp points, exposed wires, and improper grounding.[537] Walmart noted that it had received inspection reports in which Tesla itself identified 48 "action items" that reflected conditions where sites were "unsafe or potentially unsafe."[537]

Walmart reached a settlement with Tesla in November 2019, although the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.[538]

Whistleblower retaliation against Martin Tripp

In June 2018, a Tesla employee named Martin Tripp leaked information that Tesla was scrapping or reworking up to 40% of its raw materials at the Nevada Gigafactory.[539] After Tesla fired him for the leak, Tripp filed a lawsuit and claimed Tesla’s Security team gave police a false tip that he was planning a mass shooting at the Nevada factory.[540][529] According to Bloomberg, Musk "set out to destroy" Tripp and Tesla’s PR department "spread rumors that Tripp was possibly homicidal and had been part of a grand conspiracy."[539]

The court ruled in Tesla's favor on September 17, 2020.[541][542]

Unionization

In September 2019, a California judge ruled that Musk and other Tesla executives have been illegally sabotaging employee efforts to form a union.[543]

Controversies

Outside of the courts, Tesla has been the subject of other public controversies, ranging from accounting issues to workers' safety complaints. Slate ranked Tesla number 14 on their "Evil List" of most dangerous tech companies in 2020.[544]

Accounting issues

In September 2019, the SEC questioned Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn about Tesla's warranty reserves and lease accounting.[545] Analysts have expressed concerns over Tesla's accounts receivable balance.[546] Hedge fund manager David Einhorn has accused Elon Musk of "significant fraud",[547] and publicly questioned Tesla's accounting practices, telling Musk in November 2019 that he was "beginning to wonder whether your accounts receivable exist."[548] Tesla has used many "fancy accounting gimmicks" to show positive cash flow and quarterly profits,[549][550] and Bloomberg has questioned whether Tesla's financial reporting violates Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) reporting standards.[549]

Battery swap fraud

From 2012 to 2014, Tesla earned more than $295 million in fraudulent Zero Emission Vehicle credits for a battery-swapping technology that was never made available to customers.[551][552][553] Staff at California's Air Resources Board were concerned that Tesla was "gaming" the battery swap subsidies and recommended eliminating the credits in 2013.[554][555] Tesla originally claimed that the battery swap would be fully automated, and could be done in just 90 seconds, but they never released details of how it would actually work.[556] Despite interest shown by Tesla owners, Musk repeatedly downplayed the demand for the program after 2015.[557]

COVID-19 pandemic in the US

At the onset of and during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Elon Musk repeatedly downplayed the risks of COVID-19. In March 2020 Musk tweeted that "the coronavirus panic is dumb",[558][559] and incorrectly predicted that new cases in the U.S. would be "negligible" by the end of April.[560][561][562] On an earnings call in April 2020, Musk called state and local stay-at-home orders "fascist."[563]

Later in May 2020, while Alameda officials were negotiating with the company to reopen the Fremont factory on the 18th, Musk defied local government orders by restarting production at the factory on the 11th,[564] tweeting that he was doing so "against Alameda County rules."[565] This act was in non-compliance with the governor's order for the state of California during the crisis:[566][567] "Counties [emphasis added] can choose to continue more restrictive measures in place based on their local conditions, and the state expects some counties to keep their more robust stay at home orders in place beyond May 8."[568] Tesla also filed a lawsuit against Alameda County on the 11th[569] but later rescinded it after the Fremont factory was given approval to reopen.[570][571] Tesla published its detailed plan for bringing employees back to work and keeping them safe,[572] but within days of reopening at least 6 of the 10,000[573] workers at the factory tested positive for the coronavirus[574][575] and CNBC reported some employees continued to express concern over lax coronavirus precautions.[576]

In June 2020, Tesla fired an employee who criticized the company for taking inadequate safety measures to protect workers from the coronavirus at the Fremont factory.[577] Three more employees at Tesla's Fremont factory also say they were fired for staying home out of fear of catching COVID-19, despite Musk telling workers in May if "you feel uncomfortable coming back to work at this time, please do not feel obligated to do so."[578]

Environmental violations

Environmental violations and permit deviations at Tesla's Fremont factory increased dramatically from 2018 to 2019 with the production ramp of the Model 3.[579] Author Ed Niedermeyer warned that Tesla's "apparent disregard for environmental compliance has led to a pollution problem whose magnitude we may never fully understand."[580]

In June 2019, Tesla began negotiating penalties for 19 environmental violations from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.[581] The violations centered on Tesla Fremont's paint shop, where there have been frequent fires since 2014.[582] Air quality inspectors found many potential fire risks at the facility, and cited Tesla for improper disposal of flammable materials.[582] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also investigated Tesla for violations of the Clean Air Act,[583] and fined Tesla for hazardous waste violations in April 2019,[584][585] having found that Tesla failed to "promptly clean up flammable paint and or solvent mixtures," left two 55-gallon containers of hazardous waste open with "no gasket or locking mechanism," and violated air emission standards for three leaky transmission lines that the waste moved through.[586]

Flawed battery design and fires

In June 2012, Tesla knew the battery cooling system in its Model S cars had a flawed design that made it susceptible to leaks, which could short the battery or cause a fire.[587] Tesla continued to sell Model S cars with this flawed cooling system through late 2012, even as employees found these parts leaking on the production line.[587]

In October 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating Tesla's Model S and X vehicles for potential battery defects that could cause "non-crash" fires.[587][588] The NHTSA launched the investigation after receiving a defect petition asking them to look into the "alarming number" of fires in Tesla vehicles that have occurred worldwide.[588] Tesla released two over-the-air software updates in May 2019 that reduced the range in older Model S and X vehicles by as much as 50 miles.[588] Tesla claimed the updates were "designed to improve battery longevity," but the NHTSA is investigating whether they were actually made because of the fires.[588] According to consumer attorney Edward Chen, "Tesla is using over-the-air software updates to mask and cover-up a potentially widespread and dangerous issue with the batteries in their vehicles."[589]

Giga New York

Tesla's Giga New York factory, which was built and equipped using nearly $1 billion in New York taxpayer money, has faced criticism and legal actions regarding allegations of inflated job promises, cost overruns, construction delays, bid rigging, a perceived lack of effort from Musk, and claims that the deal was, in effect, a bailout of Musk's cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive.[590][591][592][593][594] The New York state comptroller released a "scathing" audit of the project, concluding that it presented many red flags, lacked basic due diligence, and produced only 54 cents in economic benefits for every $1 spent by the state (compared to the benchmark set for these types of projects of $30 in economic benefits for every $1 spent).[595]

Short sellers

As of January 15, 2020, Tesla stock was the most-shorted in U.S. equity markets. Over 20% of its stock was shorted at that time, with many shorters losing large amounts of money as the stock price climbed much higher later in the year.[596] TSLAQ is an informal and largely anonymous group of Tesla shorters and critics, mainly organized online.

In mockery of Tesla short sellers, the company unveiled velvet red short shorts for "$69.420" on their website. Within minutes, the shorts were sold out.[597]

Worker safety and rights

According to former employees at Tesla's Fremont factory, Tesla has systematically denied medical care to injured workers, forced injured workers to return to the production line without relief, and insisted that seriously injured workers be sent to the emergency room in a Lyft rather than call 911.[598] An investigation by Reveal found that Tesla "failed to report some its serious injuries on legally mandated reports, making the company's injury numbers look better than they actually are."[599] Their factory injury rates are worse than the industry average, despite Musk claiming otherwise.[599][600]

From 2014 to 2018, Tesla's Fremont factory had three times as many Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations as the ten largest U.S. auto plants combined.[601] According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Tesla barred OSHA officers from conducting a comprehensive inspection of the Nevada Gigafactory for more than two months in 2019, "even denying entry when inspectors showed up with a sheriff's deputy and a warrant signed by a judge."[602] Former safety experts at Tesla believe that the factory was "extremely dangerous", and the risk of injury was too high.[599] They believe the factory lacked adequate yellow lane markings and caution tape because "Elon does not like the color yellow", and cut back on other standard safety signals such as warning signs and warning beeps on forklifts when backing up because Musk disliked those as well.[599]

Vehicle product issues

Tesla earned the worst score among the 32 major vehicle brands in J.D. Power's 2020 Initial Quality Study due to various problems reported by owners.[603]

Recalls

As of March 2018, Tesla had issued two product recalls for the Roadster, six for the Model S and two for the Model X.[604]

On April 20, 2017, Tesla issued a worldwide recall of 53,000 (~70%) of the 76,000 vehicles it sold in 2016 due to faulty parking brakes which could become stuck and "prevent the vehicles from moving".[605][606]

On March 29, 2018, Tesla issued a worldwide recall of 123,000 Model S cars built before April 2016 due to corrosion-susceptible power steering bolts, which could fail and require the driver to use "increased force" to control the vehicle.[607]

Crashes and fires

On October 1, 2013, a Model S caught fire after the vehicle hit metal debris on a highway in Kent, Washington. Tesla confirmed the fire began in the battery pack and was caused by the "direct impact of a large metallic object to one of the 16 modules within the Model S battery pack."[608] On November 6, 2013, a Tesla Model S on Interstate 24 near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, caught fire after it struck a tow hitch on the roadway, causing damage beneath the vehicle. Tesla said that it would conduct its own investigation,[609] and as a result of these incidents, announced its decision to extend its current vehicle warranty to cover fire damage.[610]

On January 4, 2014, a Tesla Model S in Norway caught fire while charging at one of Tesla's supercharger stations and was completely destroyed. No one was injured.[611]

On March 28, 2014, NHTSA announced that it had closed the investigation into whether the Model S was prone to catch fire, after the automaker said it would provide more protection to its battery packs.[612] All Model S cars manufactured after March 6 have had the 0.25-inch (6.4 mm) aluminum shield over the battery pack replaced with a new three-layer shield.[613]

A Model S driver died in a collision with a tractor-trailer on May 7, 2016, in Williston, Florida, while the vehicle was in autopilot mode. The driver is believed to be the first person to have died in a Tesla vehicle in autopilot mode.[614][615] The NHTSA investigated the accident and concluded: "A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted."[616]

On May 8, 2018, two 18-year-olds, driver Barrett Riley and passenger Edgar Monserratt Martinez, died in a fire in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that started after crashing a Tesla Model S into a wall at 116 mph. Speed is believed to have been a factor in the crash.[617][618][619] Less than two months before the crash, it was reported that Riley's parents had a limiter installed to limit the speed to 85 mph, but it was removed at another Tesla service visit without the parents' knowledge. The removal of the limiter and alleged defective battery pack formed the basis of a lawsuit against Tesla by the estate of Edgar Monserratt Martinez. The lawsuit was filed on January 9, 2019.[620]

In March 2018, an Apple engineer had been killed in a crash in a Tesla Model X. Investigators say that the driver of the vehicle had his car in ‘self-driving’ mode and was using his phone to play games when the vehicle collided with the barrier in the middle of the freeway. Through investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the Tesla malfunctioned due to the system being confused by an exit on the freeway.[621]

Model S & X suspension problems and recall

In June 2016, the NHTSA announced that it was reviewing reports of suspension problems in Tesla Model S sedans.[622] The NHTSA also said they were aware that Tesla had entered into a "troublesome" non-disclosure agreement with one Model S owner regarding the suspension issue.[622][623] Journalist and author Ed Niedermeyer called this type of agreement "unheard of in the auto industry", and noted that a policy of demanding non-disclosure agreements for "goodwill" repairs would limit the number of defects Tesla owners reported to the NHTSA.[623] Cases of the "whompy wheel" phenomenon, which also included Model X and the occasional Model 3 cars[624], have been documented through 2020.[625] In October 2020, Tesla initiated a recall of nearly 50,000 Model X and Y vehicles throughout China.[626]

Delays

Tesla has been criticized for repeatedly over-promising and under-delivering. Delivery dates for new vehicles and new vehicle features slipped on the Roadster, Model S, Model X and Model 3. Advanced technologies like the prospect of a large network of solar-powered supercharger stations (first installation was in 2012; only a few were solar-powered as of mid 2019[627]) also lagged projections.[628]

In early October 2017, Musk had predicted that Model 3 production would be up to 5,000 units per week by December.[629] A month later, he revised that target to "sometime in March" 2018 due in part to difficulties with robots on the assembly line, but primarily due to problems with the battery module.[630] An analyst with Cowan and Company, a public relations firm, made this comment: "Elon Musk needs to stop over promising and under delivering".[631]

On September 24, 2018, Musk revealed on Twitter that Tesla will be building its own car carriers as the company is facing challenges due to logistics. Tesla is running into an acute shortage of car carrier trailers leading to a delay in the delivery.[632] In mid-November, with end-of-year buyer tax credits expiring in a little more than six weeks, Musk announced that the company was aggressively ramping up delivery capabilities with trucking contracts and even outright purchase of some trucking firms to deliver as many cars as possible before the deadline.[633]

Hacking

In August 2015, two researchers said they were able to take control of a Tesla Model S by hacking into the car's entertainment system.[634] The hack required the researchers to physically access the car.[635] Tesla issued a security update for the Model S the day after the exploit was announced.[636]

In September 2016, researchers at Tencent's Keen Security Lab demonstrated a remote attack on a Tesla Model S and controlled the vehicle in both Parking and Driving Mode without physical access. They were able to compromise the automotive networking bus (CAN bus) when the vehicle's web browser was used while the vehicle was connected to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot.[637] This was the first case of a remote control exploit demonstrated on a Tesla. The vulnerability was disclosed to Tesla under their bug bounty program[638] and patched within 10 days, before the exploit was made public.[639] Tencent also hacked the doors of a Model X in 2017.[640]

In January 2018, security researchers informed Tesla that an Amazon Web Services account of theirs could be accessed directly from the Internet and that the account had been exploited for cryptocurrency mining. Tesla responded by securing the compromised system, rewarding the security researchers financially via their bug bounty program, and stating that the compromise did not violate customer privacy, nor vehicle safety or security.[641][642]

In 2019, Tesla awarded a car and $375,000 to ethical hackers during a Pwn2Own Model 3 Hacking Event.[643]

Servicing

The first units for each new Tesla model revealed design and manufacturing flaws, including the Model S and the Model X.[644][645] As the Tesla vehicle fleet grew, the number of service centers resulted in waiting periods for some owners.[646] Auto experts view the service delays as insignificant, as owners accept the challenges of servicing a new type of car.[646] Tesla does not provide service manuals except in jurisdictions that required them to do so.[647]

Vehicle sales

Tesla delivered 367,500 cars in 2019, 50% more than in 2018 and more than triple the number sold in 2017. At the end of 2019, Tesla's global sales since 2012 totaled over 891,000 units.[648][649][650] As of October 2018, Tesla's sales represented about 20% of the all-electric cars on the world's roads, according to Navigant Research.[651] By November 2018, Tesla vehicles had traveled 10 billion miles (16 billion km).[652]

Cumulative global sales (deliveries) of Tesla's electric vehicles by model through March 31, 2020 (total: 985,154 vehicles)
Model (launch year) Units delivered
Roadster (2008)
2,450
Model S+X (2012, 2015)
460,441
Model 3+Y (2017, 2020)
524,713
(In 2019, Tesla began combining sales figures for the Model S and Model X. In Q1 2020, Tesla began combining sales figures for the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y.)

In 2016, BYD Auto was the world's top selling plug-in car manufacturer with 101,183 units sold, followed by Tesla with 76,243.[241][242] However, Tesla revenues ranked first with $6.35 billion, while BYD notched $3.88 billion.[653] Also in 2016, Tesla sold $1 billion worth of cars in China, the world's largest market for electric vehicles. In October of the following year it reached an agreement with the Chinese government to build a factory in Shanghai.[654]

 
Tesla was the world's best selling plug-in passenger car manufacturer in 2018 and 2019.[285][655][290] Shown is Tesla's entire vehicle line up (from back to front, the Model 3, Model S and Model X) as of 2019.

After ranking third by brand in 2017, behind BYD and BAIC,[656][657] Tesla ranked as the world's best selling plug-in passenger car manufacturer in 2018, both as a brand and by automotive group, with 245,240 units delivered, capturing a market share of 12% of all plug-in cars sold globally in 2018,[285][655][658] followed by BYD Auto with 227,152 plug-in passenger cars delivered.[658][659]

In August 2015, Tesla launched a revamp of its stores to include interactive displays focused on safety, autopilot, charging network and motors.[660] As of October 2016, Tesla operated about 260 galleries or retail locations in the United States.[661] In June 2016, Tesla opened its first store-within-a-store: a small outpost within the Nordstrom department store at The Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles.[662] In 2017, Tesla opened retail locations in Dubai and South Korea.[663]

Foreseeing Germany as its second market after the U.S. (and the largest in Europe), in 2016 Tesla stated the Dutch (Dienst Wegverkeer) RDW-issued Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) should be accepted as a legal compliance document, with no need to seek specific national type of approvals in EU member states.[664] In 2017, Tesla had a $52 million marketing budget and used a referral program and word of mouth to attract buyers.[665][666]

Country-specific sales

In 2019, as cars sold worldwide increased 50% from 2018, cars sold in the United States increased only 0.33%,[667] to 192,250 cars, leading to overall revenue in the United States falling by 15%, the first time there has been a decline in revenue in the United States since 2014.[668]

Tesla’s Model 3 was the 8th best selling car in the first quarter of 2020 in the United States.[669]

In 2010, Elon Musk predicted electric Tesla vehicles would sell well in Japan, being second only to the United States;[670] but in 2019, only 1,378 cars were sold in Japan.[668]

Production and sales by quarter

 
Tesla vehicle sales by quarter, based on table
Quarter Cumulative
production
Total
production
Model S
sales
Model X
sales
Model 3
sales
Model Y
sales[a]
Total
sales[b]
In transit[c] Source
Q3 2012 N/A 350 250+ 250+ [671]
Q4 2012 N/A 2,750+ 2,400 2,400 [672]
Q1 2013 N/A 5,000+ 4,900 4,900 [673]
Q2 2013 N/A N/A 5,150 5,150 [674]
Q3 2013 N/A N/A 5,500+ 5,500+ [675]
Q4 2013 ~34,851 6,587 6,892 6,892 [676]
Q1 2014 ~41,438 7,535 6,457 6,457 [677]
Q2 2014 ~48,973 8,763 7,579 7,579 [678]
Q3 2014 ~57,736 ~7,075 7,785 7,785 [679]
Q4 2014 64,811 11,627 9,834 9,834 [680]
Q1 2015 76,438 11,160 10,045 10,045 [681]
Q2 2015 89,245 12,807 11,532 11,532 [682]
Q3 2015 102,336 13,091 11,597 6 11,603 [683]
Q4 2015 116,373 14,037 17,272 206 17,478 [684]
Q1 2016 131,883 15,510 12,420 2,400 14,820 2,615 [685]
Q2 2016 150,228 18,345 9,764 4,638 14,402 5,150 [686][687]
Q3 2016 175,413 25,185 16,047 8,774 24,821 5,065 [688]
Q4 2016[d] 200,295 24,882 12,700 9,500 22,254 6,450 [689][272]
Q1 2017 225,713 25,418 ~13,450 ~11,550 25,051 ~4,650 [309]
Q2 2017 251,421 25,708 ~12,000 ~10,000 22,026 ~3,500 [310][690]
Q3 2017 276,757 25,336 14,065 11,865 222 26,137 4,820 [311][274]
Q4 2017 301,322 24,565 ~15,200 ~13,120 1,542 29,967 3,380 [312][691][275]
Q1 2018 335,816 34,494 11,730 10,070 8,182 29,997 6,100 [243]
Q2 2018 389,155 53,339 10,930 11,370 18,440 40,740 15,058 [244][692]
Q3 2018 469,297 80,142 14,470 13,190 56,065 83,725 11,824 [245][693]
Q4 2018 555,852 86,555 13,500 14,050 63,359 90,700 2,907 [694][649]
Q1 2019 632,952 77,100 12,100 50,900 63,000 10,600 [695]
Q2 2019 720,000 87,048 17,650 77,550 95,200 7,400 [696][697]
Q3 2019 816,155 96,155 17,483 79,703 97,186 [698]
Q4 2019 921,046 104,891 19,450 92,550 112,000 [648]
Q1 2020 1,023,718 102,672 12,200 76,200 88,400 [699]
Q2 2020 1,105,990 82,272 10,600 80,050 90,650 [700]
Q3 2020 1,251,026 145,036 15,200 124,100 139,300 [701][702]
  1. ^ Model Y started production in January 2020 and started shipping in March 2020. Tesla is reporting sales of Model 3 and Model Y as combined sales, starting with 2020-Q1.
  2. ^ Sales are only counted as sold when delivered to end customer and all paperwork is correct
  3. ^ Goods in transit are produced but not counted as sold until delivered. Tesla no longer reports in transit numbers.
  4. ^ Sales by model do not add up to total, these were preliminary figures reported by Tesla. Only total sales is final figures are reported by Tesla, as breakdown by model is not typically provided.

Tesla deliveries vary significantly by month due to regional issues such as availability of transportation and registration. Tesla does not follow the former auto industry standard of monthly reporting.[703] GM and Ford changed from monthly to quarterly sales reporting in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and several other brands in the US auto industry also switched by 2020.[704] Some monthly sales numbers are estimated by the media.[705]

On March 9, 2020, the company produced its 1 millionth electric car, becoming the first auto manufacturer to achieve such a milestone.[15]

US dealership disputes

 
Tesla gallery in Austin, Texas

Tesla operates stores and galleries[706][707]—usually located in shopping malls—in many U.S. states. However, customers buy vehicles only from the Tesla website.[708][709][710][711] The stores serve as showrooms that allow people to learn about the company and its vehicles. Some galleries are located in states with restrictive dealer protection laws that prohibit discussing prices or financing, or providing test drives, as well as other restrictions.

Forty-eight states have laws that limit or ban manufacturers from selling vehicles directly to consumers,[712][713][714] and although Tesla has no independent dealerships, dealership associations in multiple states have filed lawsuits over Tesla's sales practices.

In response to state auto dealers associations lobbying to prevent Tesla from selling cars directly to the public, Tesla has lobbied in several states for the right to sell cars. In June 2017, Tesla made a "last-minute push near the end of the Albany legislative session to expand its sales force in New York."[715] New York State Legislature bill A.8248/S.6600 would allow Tesla to operate 20 sales locations in the state, up from its current 5. Automotive dealers attacked the bill, arguing that it would hurt their business because Tesla does not sell through dealers. According to the New York Law Journal, "Tesla . . . has its own in-house lobbyists, according to disclosures filed with the state's lobbying entity."[715] The bill did not get to the floor of either house.[716][717]

Countries other than U.S. do not protect dealers.[718][719][720] The Federal Trade Commission recommends allowing direct manufacturer sales,[721][722] which government analysts believe would save consumers 8% in average vehicle price.[723][724]

In February 2019, Tesla announced that it would shut down the bulk of its stores and begin to sell cars exclusively through the internet.[725] The next month, the company reversed its decision, saying in a government filing that it would only close about half the number of showrooms it had originally intended to.[726]

Finances

 
Financial performance

For the fiscal year 2019, Tesla reported losses of US$862 million, with an annual revenue of US$24.578 billion, an increase of 14.5% over the previous fiscal cycle. Since 2008 sales increased from 14.7 million to 24.578 billion, thanks to continued business expansion.[727]

Year Revenue
in mil. USD
Net income
in mil. USD
Total Assets
in mil. USD
Employees[728]
2009[729] 112 −56 130
2010[729] 117 −154 386 899
2011[730] 204 −254 713 1,417
2012[731] 413 −396 1,114 2,914
2013[732] 2,013 −74 2,417 5,859
2014[733] 3,198 −294 5,831 10,161
2015[734] 4,046 −889 8,068 13,058
2016[735] 7,000 −675 22,664 17,782
2017[736] 11,759 −1,962 28,655 37,543
2018[737] 21,461 −976 29,740 48,817
2019[738] 24,578 −862 34,309 48,016

Acquisitions

Date Announced Company Business Value (USD) References
May 8, 2015 Yes Riviera Tool LLC Stamping die systems used to form sheet metal parts Unknown [739]
Nov 8, 2016 Yes Grohmann Engineering Engineering automation systems 135 million [740]
Nov 21, 2016 Yes SolarCity Provides solar energy services 2,600 million [741]
Nov 7, 2017 Yes Perbix Designs automated manufacturing equipment 10.5 million
(All-stock)
[742]
Dec 1, 2017 No Compass Automation Designs, develops and integrates custom automation systems that help optimize production. [1] Unknown [743]
May 16, 2019 Yes Maxwell Technologies Manufactures and markets energy storage and power delivery solutions for automobiles 218 million
(All-stock)
[744]
Oct 1, 2019 Yes DeepScale Develops perceptual system technologies for automated vehicles Unknown [745]
Oct 2, 2019 No Hibar Systems Advanced automation solutions for small cell batteries through a mechanized pump injection system Unknown [746]
Sep 25, 2020 No German ATW Automation Assembling battery modules and packs for the auto industry Unknown [747]

Philanthropy

  • In 2017, multiple contributions of solar power to areas recovering from disasters.[748][749]
  • In July 2018, $37.5 million to K-12 STEM education in Nevada.[750]
  • In January 2020, 5 million Yuan ($723,000) to Chinese CDC to fight the Coronavirus outbreak.[751][752]

See also

References

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