Tesla’s Origins “Superhero Comic”: Check Out This Amazing Infographic




The original Tesla Roadster (Image: Inhabitat)


Today, it’s no secret that Elon Musk has had an impressive success story so far. Institutional Investor reminds us that, “It is the first automaker to go public since Ford in 1956… [and] the stock has soared more than 1,300 percent since Tesla went public in 2010.”

But, looking back at the origins of Tesla, it wasn’t all smooth-sailing. In fact, according to Visual Capitalist, “even Elon Musk would tell you that it wasn’t always obvious that the company would be around in 2017.”

Nevertheless, early investors have reaped impressive returns — Tesla now trades, albeit with great volatility, just north of $300 per share. Looking back, “Priced at $17 per share just seven years ago, the Tesla IPO ended up being a total bargain for anyone lucky enough to get in.”

So what happened at the genesis of the company to set the stage for such unbridled growth?

At its inception, “Tesla was initially conceived in 2003 out of the vision of two Silicon Valley engineers, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. The partners had just sold their eReader company for $187 million and were looking for their next big idea. The infamous ‘death’ of GM’s EV1 electric car that year ended up being a source of inspiration, and the two engineers started looking into ways to reduce the world’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil and to combat climate change.”

Enter Elon Musk. It turns out, “The company was bootstrapped until Elon Musk led the $7.5 million Series A round in February 2004 and became the controlling investor. He joined the board of directors as its chairman and took on operational roles as well. At this time, JB Straubel – who famously rebuilt an electric golf cart when he was only 14 years old – also joined the company as CTO.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.


Elon Musk takes over as CEO in 2008 (Instagram: david_sacco_)

While trying to launch the original Roadster, top management experienced some dramatic changes, especially at the top. In 2007, Eberhart was forced to resign as CEO. Later that year, early investor Michael Marks took the reins temporarily until Ze’ev Drori took over. But, after less than a year of Drori’s run at the top, Musk stepped in to take over the role of CEO in October 2008. Musk had said, “I’ve got so many chips on the table with Tesla. It just made sense for me to have both hands on the wheel.”

Musk made sweeping changes across the company to get things back on track. And, “Despite revamping the entire production process – and the company itself – Tesla made it through its most trying time. The Roadster wasn’t perfect, but it helped Tesla learn what it meant to be a car company… [and] with the Roadster, Tesla would not only set itself up for future success but also the transformation of an entire industry.”

For a deep dive into the origins of Tesla, check out this comprehensive infographic* — sorta stylized like a cool, superhero comic — in order to get the scoop on what really went down…



*Infographic: Visual Capitalist via Global Energy Metals

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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7 Comments on "Tesla’s Origins “Superhero Comic”: Check Out This Amazing Infographic"

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Fantastic. Thanks to all those who founded worked and supported this great company.

Hope Model 3 gives the much needed boost to Tesla.

Wonderful! How refreshing to see a summary of Tesla’s early years which isn’t whitewashed, shows the increasing number of difficulties the company had due to the unrealistic original plan to “build cars like Silicon Valley builds computers”, and which does not pretend that Elon Musk founded the company.

Musk says that the Roadster essentially made no money for Tesla; that it earned more-or-less zero overall profit. But what it did was give Tesla some corporate experience in the realities of building automobiles, including the need to hire some executives with experience at companies which actually do build automobiles and sell them at a profit.

That experience certainly helped Tesla a great deal when it came time to design and build the very successful Model S.

Tesla: To infinity… and beyond! 😉

P.S. — As a connoisseur of art deco, I really like the graphic design of this infographic.

“Wonderful! How refreshing to see a summary of Tesla’s early years which isn’t whitewashed … and which does not pretend that Elon Musk founded the company.”


“…the two engineers started looking into ways to reduce the world’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil and to combat climate change.

Enter Elon Musk.”

looks like they could only barely give Elon Musk more credit than they currently are.

I clearly remember seeing the T-Zero on Discovery Canada’s Daily Planet. I think it was Natasha Stillwell reporting. Huge EV grin as they launched down the alley behind their factory. Always bugs me to see that first EV forgotten in the Roadster story.

Well now that we’ve got what this article calls a Tesla origins “comic book”, a follow-up can be a “Secret Origins” comic infographic that shows the development path of the Roadster EV powertrain. This arguably started with the modern AC integrated motor controller (including inverter) invented by Alan Cocconi, which first appeared in the 1990 GM “Impact” concept car, which became the prototype for the GM EV1. Then Cocconi left GM and became the co-founder of AC Propulsion, which built the tZero, which became what we might call the “proto-Roadster”. 🙂 Tesla even gave potential investors rides in the tZero to help persuade them, so certainly that was an important part of Tesla’s history.

I got to ride in the T-Zero lithium and meet Tom Gage. He drove it out from California to Scottsdale AZ in 2004 to show it at our SolFest. He and Ed Begley Jr came and gave great talks. But the World wasn’t ready for them yet. They only got interested when OIL prices went up again and again.
Thanks Tom and Ed, they are the greatest.

Infographics are nice, but why not actually print it in comic book form.

Either give them away or sell them at the stores/galleries.

Yet another way to drive traffic in the door.