Nikola Tesla predicted smartphones in a 1926 interview with Collier’s magazine. He said that people would have a communication device that is so simple and small that they would carry it in their “vest pockets.” Almost a hundred years later, Tesla Inc., which has nothing to do with the inventor directly, launched a car into space.
Few company names are as recognizable as Tesla. However, there are probably some things about it that you still don’t know. Let’s start with seven of them!
1. Elon Musk did not start Tesla
Tesla was founded by American entrepreneurs Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003. They started the concept of “a car manufacturer that is also a technology company.” At the time, their core technologies were the battery, the computer software, and the proprietary motor. Musk joined the company a year later.
In 2004, Musk made a $6.5 million investment, which made him the largest shareholder of the company. He didn’t step in as a CEO until 2008, replacing Eberhard.
2. Tesla’s first profits were not made from selling cars
After more than 15 years of yearly net losses, Tesla earned $721 million in its first profitable year in 2020. That year, the company delivered just under half a million vehicles to customers, which contributed to a portion of the yearly revenue. But what pushed the company into positive revenue were leasing, vehicle services, and energy generation storage.
3. Tesla has an open patent policy (with conditions)
Tesla spent years working on and securing patents for electric and autonomous vehicle technology. At the time of announcing its open source patent policy (which means the patents are free to use), the company held 203 patents and had over 280 pending. Now, it has 3304 patents.
To use the patents, you must meet three conditions:
- Act in good faith.
- Don’t question its validity.
- Don’t copy the design.
4. Tesla is the sixth company to reach a market cap of $1T
Tesla reached the astronomical figure of a trillion-dollar market cap in late October 2021. Shortly after, the stock price reached its all-time high.
The five companies that crossed the same threshold were the tech world’s Big Five: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, and Meta (Facebook).
5. Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales model is banned in some jurisdictions
Tesla provides exclusively direct manufacturer auto sales. But in some jurisdictions, franchise laws require that new cars be sold only by independent dealers. The automaker opted out of the compromise because they wanted to properly explain the advantages of their cars to their customers. So, they didn’t want to rely on third-party dealerships to handle their sales.
6. TSLA is the most shorted stock on NASDAQ
Tesla has enjoyed a few strong years so far, but the stock’s short sellers are going nowhere even when they continue to get squeezed out of their positions.
Almost 3% of TSLA’s public float is held in short-selling positions. While the demand for Tesla cars is not a problem, there are still concerns about supply-chain troubles and soaring raw-material costs.
7. There are many easter eggs in Tesla products
These are just a few examples of software and hardware Easter eggs you can come across when driving a Tesla car:
- Settings named after Monty Python
- Lost quotes in the entertainment menu
- A voice command “Keep Tesla Safe” from Rick and Morty
- “42” as the car’s name from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Perhaps there are other ones that the public isn’t aware of yet.