Tesla: Everything you need to know about the world's most famous electric vehicle maker

Tesla is a world-renowned electric vehicle, but let's dig a little deeper.
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Tesla lineup
Tesla lineup

Tesla 

  • Tesla produces electric vehicles, residential and grid-scale battery energy storage, solar panels, solar roof tiles, and other goods and services.
  • With a market value of more than $840 billion, Tesla is one of the most valuable companies in the world.
  • Tesla currently operates 19 factories, including five Gigafactories, with one in China and another in Germany.

Tesla is a transnational American automotive and clean energy company.

The company develops and produces electric vehicles (cars and trucks), residential and grid-scale battery energy storage, solar panels, solar roof tiles, and other goods and services. With a market value of more than $840 billion, Tesla is one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Tesla: Everything you need to know about the world's most famous electric vehicle maker
A Tesla store

The firm sold the most battery-electric and plug-in electric vehicles globally in 2021, accounting for 21 percent of the battery-electric (purely electric) market and 14 percent of the plug-in market (which includes plug-in hybrids) that year. (China's BYD Auto overtook Tesla in Q2 of 2022 to become the top-selling EV brand globally.)

Tesla also creates and installs a significant amount of photovoltaic systems in the U.S. through its subsidiary Tesla Energy. With 3.99 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of deployed battery energy storage systems in 2021, Tesla Energy is also among the biggest suppliers of such systems globally.

Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning established Tesla Motors in July 2003. Nikola Tesla, an inventor and electrical engineer is honored in the corporate name. With a $6.5 million investment in February 2004, Elon Musk rose to become the company's largest shareholder. He assumed the position of CEO in 2008. Musk claims that Tesla's goal is to hasten the transition to environmentally friendly energy and transportation, using solar energy and electric vehicles as the primary sources.

The Roadster sports car, Tesla's first vehicle model, was released in 2008. The Model S sedan arrived in 2012, the Model X SUV appeared in 2015, the Model 3 sedan appeared in 2017, and the Model Y crossover appeared in 2020. The Model 3 was the first electric vehicle to sell one million units globally, becoming the all-time best-selling plug-in electric vehicle in June 2021. Tesla sold 936,222 vehicles globally in 2021, a growth of 87 percent over the previous year. As of August 2022, the company has sold a total of 3 million vehicles. In October 2021, Tesla became the sixth corporation in American history to have a market valuation of $1 trillion and the second fastest company to hit the $1 trillion mark.

Tesla has been the subject of many lawsuits, recalls, government scrutiny, and public controversies arising from statements and actions of CEO Elon Musk and allegations of creative accounting, whistleblower retaliation, worker rights violations, and unresolved and dangerous technical problems with their products.

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Where is Tesla made?

Tesla currently operates 19 factories, including five Gigafactories, with one in China and another in Germany.

The Tesla Fremont Factory, formerly the NUMMI facility in Fremont, California, is now home to a Tesla assembly facility. General Motors initially opened the facility in 1962, and from 1984 GM and Toyota jointly controlled it. Tesla bought the old factory the same year it shuttered its doors, in 2010.

Nevada saw the opening of its first significant battery manufacturing facility in 2016. Powerwalls, Powerpacks, and Megapacks, battery cells made in collaboration with Panasonic, and Model 3 battery packs and drivetrains are all produced at the Gigafactory Nevada (formerly known as Gigafactory 1). In exchange for opening in their territory, the municipal and state governments provided the factory with large subsidies that made it tax-free for Tesla to operate for ten years.

Tesla chose Austin, Texas, on July 23, 2020, as the location for Gigafactory 5, currently known as Gigafactory Texas. Giga Texas will serve as the primary factory for the Tesla Cybertruck and Tesla Semi and the production of Model 3 and Model Y vehicles for the Eastern United States. Tesla held its Cyber Rodeo event on April 7, 2022, to commemorate the official launch of the Giga Texas project, which around 15,000 guests attended.

In 2021, Tesla purchased a former JC Penney distribution facility close to Lathrop, California, with plans to construct a Megafactory to produce Megapacks. The facility, which started operations in 2022, manufactures next-generation Megapacks that use prismatic lithium iron phosphate batteries.

Tesla announced its plans to build a car and battery factory in Europe in 2016. Several countries campaigned to be the host, and eventually, Germany was chosen in November 2019. On March 22, 2022, Tesla's first European Gigafactory, named Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, opened with a planned capacity to produce 500,000 electric vehicles annually, along with car batteries.

In July 2018, Tesla signed an agreement with Chinese authorities to build a factory in Shanghai, China, which was Tesla's first Gigafactory outside the United States. The factory building was finished in August 2019, and the initial Tesla Model 3s were in production from Giga Shanghai in October 2019.

Tesla: Everything you need to know about the world's most famous electric vehicle maker
Gigafactory Shanghai

In 2021, China accounted for 26 percent of Tesla's sales revenue and was the second largest market for Tesla after the United States, which accounted for 45 percent of its sales.

What models does Tesla offer nad what are the upcoming models?

Tesla currently offers Model 3, Model S, and Model X. But the company is accepting reservations for its Roadster, Cybertruck, and Semi models.

How do Tesla cars work?

Like all other electric vehicles (EV), Tesla vehicles use rechargeable batteries to store electricity pulled from the grid and drive an electric motor that moves the wheels. Electric automobiles can feel very responsive to drive because they generally accelerate faster than conventional fuel engines.

There are several distinct types of EVs. Pure electric vehicles are those that use only electricity to operate. Additionally, hybrid electric vehicles can also be powered using gasoline or diesel to charge the battery.

Plug-in electric vehicles use only electricity and obtain all their power from being charged from the grid. This type of vehicle doesn't emit pollution like typical cars because it doesn't require gasoline or diesel ⁠—although the electricity itself may be generated from non-renewable sources, leading to carbon emissions.

Plug-in hybrids: These vehicles primarily run on electricity but also contain a conventional fuel engine, allowing you to switch to gasoline or diesel if the battery runs out. The difference with hybrids is that they only switch to the engine if the battery is low, whereas hybrids constantly switch back and forth. These vehicles emit emissions when they are running on fuel but not when they are running on electricity. Plug-in hybrids can be plugged into the grid to recharge their battery.

Should I buy a Tesla?

Tesla has established itself as a household name by providing luxury, cutting-edge technology, exceptional range, and a secure charging network. Tesla makes up about two out of every three electric automobiles sold in the U.S. With more EVs coming onto the market every year, why should you get one?

Technology is a hallmark of Tesla vehicles. One of the first things you'll notice when you step into a Tesla is the sizable touchscreen on the dashboard. In fact, the vehicle is designed so that everything can be operated from this screen. You may operate the HVAC infotainment system and even browse the internet or stream your preferred music and television programs from this screen.

The absence of buttons and knobs gives Tesla interiors a sleek appearance. Additionally, many features, including the windows, horn, valet mode, lock, and car tracking, can be managed from your smartphone.

New Teslas also come equipped with Autopilot — "an advanced driver assistance system that enhances safety and convenience behind the wheel." The system is intended to reduce the overall workload for drivers. Autopilot can also come with full self-driving capabilities, but using the full self-driving feature is currently illegal in many places, and all drivers are reminded that they need to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times.

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