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// Tesla Inc (wikipedia)
Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors, Inc.) is an American automotive and energy company based in Palo Alto, California. The company specializes in electric car manufacturing and, through its SolarCity subsidiary, solar panel manufacturing. It operates multiple production and assembly plants, notably Gigafactory 1 near Reno, Nevada, and its main vehicle manufacturing facility at Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. As of June 2018, Tesla sells the Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles, Powerwall and Powerpack batteries, solar panels, solar roof tiles, and some related products.
Tesla was founded in July 2003, by engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, under the name Tesla Motors. The company's name was derived from physicist Nikola Tesla. In early Series A funding, Tesla Motors was joined by Elon Musk, J. B. Straubel and Ian Wright, all of whom are retrospectively allowed to call themselves co-founders of the company. Musk, who formerly served as chairman and is the current chief executive officer, said that he envisioned Tesla Motors as a technology company and independent automaker, aimed at eventually offering electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer. Tesla Motors shortened its name to Tesla in February 2017.
After 10 years in the market, Tesla ranked as the world's best selling plug-in passenger car manufacturer in 2018, both as a brand and by automotive group, with 245,240 units delivered and a market share of 12% of the plug-in segment sales. Tesla vehicle sales in the U.S. increased by 280% from 48,000 in 2017 to 182,400 in 2018, and globally were up by 138% from 2017.
Tesla aims to change the automotive industry by creating many innovative pieces that fit together; this strategy was called "complex coordination" by Tesla investor Peter Thiel. Its marketing, production, sales and technology strategies all are notably different from its competitors.
Robotic manufacturing of the Model S at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California
Tesla's automotive strategy is to emulate typical technological-product life cycles and initially target affluent buyers. It then moved into larger markets at lower price points. The battery and electric drivetrain technology for each model would be developed and paid for through the sales of earlier models. The Roadster was low-volume and priced at US$109,000. Model S and Model X targeted the broader luxury market. Model 3 is aimed at a higher-volume segment. This business strategy is common in the technology industry. According to a Musk blog post, "New technology in any field takes a few versions to optimize before reaching the mass market, and in this case it is competing with 150 years and trillions of dollars spent on gasoline cars."
Tesla's production strategy includes a high degree of vertical integration (80% in 2016), which includes component production and proprietary charging infrastructure. The company operates enormous factories to capture economies of scale. Tesla builds electric powertrain components for vehicles from other automakers, including the Smart ED2 ForTwo electric drive (the lowest-priced car from Daimler AG), the Toyota RAV4 EV, and Freightliner's Custom Chassis Electric Van. Vertical integration is rare in the automotive industry, where companies typically outsource 80% of components to suppliers, and focus on engine manufacturing and final assembly.