What does the name Tesla mean

How Tesla Motors got its name

In 2003, Martin Eberhard - one of the original founders of Tesla Motors - thought intensively about founding an electric car startup. It was clear from the start that the planned Stromer should be a vehicle with performance at sports car level.

Finding a name for the future electric car manufacturer turned out to be more difficult than expected. The desired electric car was supposed to be great, “blatant” and powerful and thus fundamentally change the image of the electric cars, which were previously more popular as golf carts. But what kind of name could combine all of this and still sound good?

For months Eberhard searched for a suitable name and discussed his ideas with his girlfriend. But nothing could really convince the two. The electric car startup should not sound too “green” or too technical, because both had already proven to be an obstacle in similar projects. In addition, the future name should sound less like a startup from Silicon Valley and much more like a real car manufacturer.

One evening Martin Eberhard made another suggestion to his girlfriend Carolyn over a romantic dinner. He had the idea to honor Nikola Tesla, the inventor of the AC motor - after all, he planned to use its technology in the products of his future company.

The conversation between the couple is said to have taken place as follows:

Marcus Eberhard: How about Tesla Motors?

His girlfriend Carolyn: Perfect! And now start building your car.

From then on everything went very quickly: In April 2003 Eberhard and his co-founder Marc Tarpenning grabbed the Internet address Teslamotors.com and on July 1, 2003 the company was officially founded.

Before the Californian electric car manufacturer could start to its current highs under Elon Musk, there should be some changes in the company structure in the years after the foundation - you can read more about the recent history of Tesla in our detailed Elon Musk biography.

Company: Tesla
Drive: electric car