Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors) is an American company that specializes in electric automotives, energy storage and solar panel manufacturing based in Palo Alto, California. Founded in 2003, the company specializes in electric cars, lithium-ion battery energy storage, and residential photovoltaic panels (through the subsidiary company SolarCity). The additional products Tesla sells include the Tesla Powerwall and Powerpack batteries, solar panels and solar roof tiles.
CEO Elon Musk said that he envisions Tesla as a technology company and independent automaker, aimed at eventually offering electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer. The company was named after the electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla by company co-founders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.
The company's Model S was the world's best-selling plug-in electric car in 2015 and 2016. Global sales of the Model S reached the 200,000 unit milestone during the fourth quarter of 2017. In September 2015, the company released its Model X, a crossover SUV. The Model 3 was released in July 2017. Tesla production passed 300,000 vehicles in February 2018.
Tesla operates multiple production and assembly plants, notably Gigafactory 1 near Reno, Nevada and its main vehicle manufacturing facility at Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. The Gigafactory primarily produces batteries and battery packs for Tesla vehicles and energy storage products.
The company was founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, although the company also considers Elon Musk, JB Straubel and Ian Wright as cofounders. The founders were influenced to start the company after GM recalled and destroyed its EV1 electric cars in 2003.