Tesla constantly works to make its products better, and the fertile mind of Elon Musk is constantly coming up with ideas for new products, new features and sometime even whole new companies. Furthermore, it sometimes seems that marketing-savvy Tesla shuffles things around just to keep its name in the headlines.
All this makes the California carmaker the very definition of “a moving target” for journalists—even online blog posts can become outdated within days. When I undertook to write a comprehensive history of the company in 2014, I knew I would have to update it from time to time, and that’s one reason I opted to publish it exclusively as an e-book. Six years later, I’ve released edition 4.1, and none too soon.
Since I published the previous edition in 2017, the Disruptor of Detroit has added several important new chapters to its already fascinating story. To the astonishment of almost everyone, it has become the world’s most valuable automaker. It has realized the goal of its famous three-stage Master Plan—Model 3 has been a resounding success. It has changed the automotive equation in China with a new Gigafactory, and begun the process of doing the same in Germany, the home of some of the world’s most technically advanced automakers. It has introduced yet more exciting vehicles (Model Y and Cybertruck), and navigated a worldwide health crisis (not without considerable controversy).
I’ve updated every section and reorganized the entire book, adding four new chapters and several additional photos. I’ve conducted new interviews with several EV experts and former Tesla employees, including David Havasi—he worked in the company’s sales and marketing arm, and thus added an entirely new perspective to the book.
The most exclusive sections of the book are based on personal interviews with Tesla co-founders Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright. You’ll find it quite interesting that some of the things they had to say back in 2014 are still relevant today, especially their comments about the lackluster competition from the legacy automakers.
My approach throughout the book is to concentrate on the exciting stories, and there are many: Martin Eberhard’s realization that there were many like himself, who loved fast cars but wanted to help the environment; the freewheeling first days of the company, reminiscent of the early internet era; Tesla’s near-death experience and miraculous resurrection; the spiteful split between the company’s larger-than-life leaders; and the gloves-off battles with short sellers and hostile media.
Tesla: How Elon Musk and Company Made Electric Cars Cool, and Remade the Automotive and Energy Industries is currently available exclusively on Amazon.