Support our educational content for free when you purchase through links on our site. Learn more
Tesla, Inc. is an American electric automaker and clean energy company based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla’s current products include electric cars, battery energy storage from home to grid scale, solar panels and solar roof tiles, as well as other related products and services. Tesla is ranked as the world’s best-selling plug-in and battery electric passenger car manufacturer, with a market share of 16% of the plug-in segment and 23% of the battery electric segment 2020 sales. Through its subsidiary SolarCity, Tesla is a major installer of solar photovoltaic systems in the United States, and also develops them. Tesla is also one of the worlds largest suppliers of battery energy storage systems, with over 3 GWh of battery storage supplied in 2020.
Founded in July 2003 as Tesla Motors, the company’s name is a tribute to inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla, though they’re not directly related. Elon Musk, who contributed most of the funding in the early days, has served as CEO since 2008. According to Musk, the purpose of Tesla is to help expedite the move to sustainable transport and energy, obtained through electric vehicles and solar power. Tesla began production of their first car model in 2009, the Roadster. This was followed by the Model S sedan in 2012, the Model X SUV in 2015, the higher volume Model 3 sedan in 2017, and the Model Y crossover in 2020. The Model 3 is the world’s all-time best-selling plug-in electric car, with over 800,000 delivered through December 2020. Tesla global vehicle sales were over 499,000 units in 2020, a 35.8% increase over the previous year. In 2020, the company surpassed the 1 million mark of electric cars produced since they began in 2008.