Not many people are too familiar with the Tesla automotive brand, but these cars will be the cars of the future. CEO of the company Elon Musk is an investor, inventor and entrepreneur who is changing the way that cars are made to be better equipped for the future.
While the company started off with some struggles and their first vehicle the Roadster was discontinued, Musk never lost the motivation to continue on. Today, Tesla is a major player in the electric car market.
Tesla is on the up and up; with over 14,000 employees and 7,000 new jobs on the way and a market value of $33.5 billion, Tesla is making big waves in the car industry.
The car company currently has two successful electric cars on the market and is the first new American auto company to turn a profit in decades. Tesla Motors will soon become a household name.
Here are 15 things that you definitely didn't know about Tesla Motors, courtesy of jenningsmotorgroup.co.uk.
15 Legal Battle With Top Gear
The TV show heavily criticized the Roadster, leading to a legal battle with Tesla. BBC's Top Gear had been accused of faking a scene that appeared to show a Tesla Roadster running out of power, which caused their sales to drop.
Tesla claimed it had lost $171,000 in sales as a result of the popular British show's review of the car.
The roadster was Tesla's first model, launched in 2008, was apparently a complete disaster. The car was discontinued in 2012. Afterward, Tesla focused on their other two current models, the Model S and the Model X.
14 Tesla Is Named After Physicist Nikola Tesla
Founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, Tesla Motors was named after Nikola Tesla, a Serbian inventor and engineer who created the induction motor and alternating-current (AC) power transmission.
Current CEO Elon Musk, who was not involved with the founding of Tesla, cites Thomas Edison, a Tesla rival, as his personal hero.
Nikola Tesla filed more than 700 patents for everything from wireless communication to fluorescent lighting during his lifetime (1856-1943). You can understand why the car company hopes to be just as successful.
13 Model X Is The Heaviest Electric Vehicle
Weighing in at 5,594 pounds, the Model X was the heaviest electric vehicle compared to all others of its kind.
The Model X is stronger than most utility poles. The car took only minimal damage against the poles when it crashed into them during side-impact tests.
The Model X also has a biohazard air filter, allowing medical-grade air to flow through the car's interior, no matter what the quality of air is like outside.
There is a feature called "Summon" that lets you tell your Model S via smartphone to greet you at your front door when you come out to get in the car. Warm seats and a warm hello in the morning? Talk about starting your day off right.
Using Summon, once you arrive home and get out of your car, you can prompt it to do the rest: open your garage door, pull into the garage, park, and turn off the engine.
The Tesla will also be able to park itself in parking spaces, eliminating the hassle of squeezing into tight parking spots.
11 The Minibus Is Coming
Tesla is expected to formally announce the Minibus in 2017, as well as a semi-articulated truck.
The minibus will be built using architecture that is similar to that of Model X. Musk said that the truck is expected to begin production within a few years.
The 'Tesla Minibus' and 'Tesla Semi' are not the official names, by the way. The company has yet to announce what these new electric vehicles will be called.
10 Model 3 Was Model E
The Model 3 was originally supposed to be called the Model E. However, another company's trademark prevented Tesla from being able to name it that. The Model E was expected to have a start price of around $35,000.
The Model 3 will be the car company's most affordable car yet. The premium sedan will have a 215-mile range per charge. It can achieve zero to 60 mph in under six seconds.
Deliveries begin late 2017, but you can reserve your Model 3 right now for $1000 on the Tesla website.
9 Superstations Are The New Gas Stations
The maximum range you can get from a fully charged Model S is 455 miles. It takes around 30 minutes to charge a Model S or X to a 170-mile range at a Tesla Supercharger.
There are currently 719 supercharger stations around the world and there are more and more popping up every day.
Superstations are the world's fastest charging stations. You can find these stations on your vehicle's touch screen GPS. Fill up your coffee or grab a bite to eat while your car quickly recharges and simply check your phone to see when it is done! Sounds a lot better than the gas station.
8 Tesla Turns Trains Into Batteries
Tesla owns a huge under-construction factory in Nevada. The building is going to be the second largest building in the world by volume once construction is completed. The planned floor space of the 'Gigafactory' is 5.8 million square feet.
The closest building to the size of the Gigafactory is Boeing’s Everett factory in Washington state with a square footage of 4.3 million.
Tesla will create lithium-ion batteries to use in their cars. Entire trains, among many other things, will be recycled and turned into batteries. The factory will also be powered with 100% renewable energy.
7 The Gigafactory Will Create More Lithium-ion Than The Whole World
$5 billion is expected to be invested in the plant by the time of construction's completion. The new Tesla plant will employ almost 7,000 workers.
In 2020, the Gigafactory will make more lithium-ion than the entire planet made in 2013. By 2018, Tesla's Gigafactory could produce around a half a million electric cars with these battery cells.
During an earnings conference call last year, CEO Elon Musk said: "Cells will be going through [the Gigafactory] like bullets from a machine gun. In fact, the exit rate of cells will be faster than bullets from a machine gun."
6 Direct To Consumer Sales
Tesla prefers to sell direct to the consumer without franchised dealers. Tesla's sale model is actually illegal in many U.S. states. Tesla sells its vehicles through its own stores and online. Tesla's revenue for 2015 was $4.05 billion, which was up from $3.20 billion in 2014.
In state after state, the company has faced legislative and litigation resistance to its business plan to sell their cars without using a network of third-party dealers.
Tesla Motors hopes to capture a more mainstream consumer with the introduction of its Model 3.
5 Tesla's CEO Started Off Creating Computer Games In South Africa
Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, created computer games in South Africa throughout his youth. The CEO receives $1, that's one dollar, in annual salary from Tesla, as the company has not yet turned an annual profit.
Musk has invested over $70 million of his own money in Tesla. His current net worth is around $12 billion. The CEO has made some bold moves with Tesla, creating billions for him and his business in turn.
Musk has previously stated his initiatives were to reduce global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, which he says would reduce the "risk of human extinction [by] making life multi-planetary," and set up a human colony on Mars... Which brings us to the next item on this list.
4 Elon Musk Plans To Colonize Mars
Tesla's CEO plans to have humans living and building a colonization on Mars by 2022. Musk plans to go to Mars, and he wants others to join him too-- especially if you have any connections with NASA or happen to be a wealthy futurist.
Musk has envisioned a new slew of technology including huge, reusable rockets, carbon fiber fuel tanks and ultra-powerful engines. Plus, a spaceship that will carry hundreds of passengers to Mars and be able to return back to Earth to pick up more people.
A single ticket to Mars will probably run you around $10 billion...right now. But once the interplanetary transport system is fully operational, Musk estimates that a person will be able to travel to Mars for around $200,000.
3 The Hyperloop
Elon Musk has proposed a rapid transit system called the "Hyperloop" which would send people through tubes at high speeds from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
The Hyperloop would be able to travel from San Francisco to LA in just 35 minutes, at speeds of 1200 km/hr.
A partial vacuum is incorporated in the design to reduce air resistance, as well as a capsule that floats on high-pressure air from skis.
2 U.S. Government Loaned Tesla $465 Million
The United States Government loaned almost a half a billion dollars to Tesla in 2009. Tesla has since repaid this loan, 9 years early.
Tesla is the only American car company to have fully repaid the government. Tesla got a lot of backlash after relying on a federal handout.
Tesla got a $465 million loan from the DOE in 2010 as part of an Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program. Tesla's rival Fisker also received a DOE loan. But as opposed to the success of Tesla, Fisker recently hired advisers to help it weigh bankruptcy and restructuring loan options after having to lay off a significant number of employees.
1 Self-Driving Cars
The autopilot software that is already built into Tesla's electric cars offers a glimpse of what autopilot technology will be like it the future. Today, users are able to drive with what feels like autonomous driving on the freeway.
Autopilot builds a picture of the world around it by using a forward-looking camera mounted near the rearview mirror, a radar in the front bumper, and sensors around the entire vehicle.
New radar improvements will sense anything dense, particularly metallic, and steer clear. It will also work well in low visibility situations like fog.
Tesla plans to have implemented driverless technology cars by 2018. This could mean we are less than two years from having self-driving cars!