Tesla product timeline | Update to May 2023

Tesla is 16 years old. It turns 17 in July. In the nearly two decades it's been around, the Silicon Valley electric-car company has done what nobody in the auto industry thought was possible: create a viable new American car brand.

Tesla product timeline | Update to May 2023

Along the way, it also created a market for electric vehicles, spurring major automakers to jump in and take risks.

It hasn't been an easy road for Tesla and CEO Elon Musk. But a lot has happened during those 16 years.

In fact, Tesla has racked up an impressive number of milestones. I decided to round up the 25 most significant, from the company's first vehicle to sending a car into orbit:

1. PayPal. Before Elon Musk was involved with Tesla, he and his partners (including Peter Thiel, pictured here). Musk took his share of the $1.5 billion sale to PayPal in 2002 and sank it all into Tesla and SpaceX.
Peter Thiel and Elon Musk. AP

2. The Original Roadster. Tesla's first car was based on a Lotus chassis. It debuted in 2008 and proved that electric vehicles could be cool and fast. The era of the glorified golf cart was over.
The original Tesla Roadster. Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

3. The Tesla Factory. In 2010, Tesla bought what had been a jointly operating GM/Toyota plant, formerly known as NUMMI. Tesla picked up the plant for a bargain price of $42 million, following GM's 2009 bankruptcy.
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

4. Deal with Toyota. In 2006, Toyota took a stake in Tesla and teamed up with the all-electric automaker to source drivetrains from the RAV4 EV crossover SUV.
Toyota RAV4 EV. Toyota

5. The Model S. Tesla first clean-sheet design hit the market in 2012. Just as the Roadster showed that the company could do fast, the Model S proved it could design, engineer, and manufacture a proper luxury sedan.
Elon Musk stands beside a Tesla Model S. Flickr/ Maurizio Pesce

6. The Supercharger network. Tesla's proprietary fast-charging network is spread around North America, Europe, and China. It enables Tesla owners to road trip well beyond the range of other EVs.
A Tesla Model S P100D is seen parked at a Supercharger station on the SpaceX campus in Hawthorne, California. Bryan Logan/Business Insider

7. The Model X is revealed. Tesla pulled the cover off its much-anticipated SUV in 2012. The "falcon wing" doors were the standout feature. But it would be three years before the Model X would officially launch.
The Tesla Model X prototype debuts. Wikimedia Commons

8. The D! Cryptically announced in 2015, the "D" meant "dual motor" — Tesla had added all-wheel-drive to the Model S.
Elon Musk/Tesla

The dual-motor Model S also served up "Insane Mode" — a 0-60 mph time in the Model S P85D of 3.2 seconds.
Mark Ralston/AFP

9. Ludicrous Mode later upped that, in the P90D and P100D.
A Tesla Model S P90D. Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

10. Gigafactory 1. The sprawling Nevada battery plant opened in 2016. It's Tesla's second factory in the US, and battery production was a partnership between the carmaker and Panasonic.
Aerial view of the Tesla Gigafactory near Sparks, Nevada Reuters

11. Autopilot. In 2015, Tesla kicked its semi-self-driving system into a higher gear and began its march toward full-self-driving — which hasn't yet arrived.
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

12. The Model X launches. Finally, in 2015, the Model X landed. It was beset with production challenges, from the falcon wing doors to the rear seats. Musk said it had gone through "production hell" and lamented that Tesla had made the design so complicated.
Elon Musk presents the Tesla Model X. AP

13. Elon Musk's speech in Paris calling for a carbon tax. In late 2015, Musk gave an important speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, demanding a price on pollution. "We have to fix the unpriced externality," he told the audience.

14. Solar Roof. In 2016, Tesla controversially merged with SolarCity. By 2017, a new product, the Tesla Solar Roof, was being touted by Musk. By 2020, its progress would be uneven. But it still promised a new line of business for Tesla.
Screenshot via Tesla

15. The Boring Company. Frustrated with Los Angeles traffic, Musk founded the Boring Company to dig tunnels under the city's freeways. It would eventually ink a deal with Las Vegas to develop a transit project.
The Boring Company

16. Tesla's market capitalization challenges Detroit. Despite building fewer than 500,000 vehicles per year, Tesla matched Ford and GM's market caps and in 2019-20, leapt well past them, becoming the most financially valuable US carmaker.
Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

17. Trump is elected. Musk made an effort to convince the Trump administration to focus on his carbon-tax goals, but he later resigned from a presidential committee after the US pulled out of the Paris climate accord.
Elon Musk is seen standing next to President Donald Trump and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Evan Vucci / AP

18. The Model 3 arrives. Production hell, part two, for Tesla's long-awaited Model 3 mass-market sedan. The snazzy four-door rolled out in 2017, but didn't hit full-production until 2018.
Tesla Model 3. Matthew DeBord/BI

19. The Tesla Semi. In 2017, Tesla staged its most rock-concert-like reveal, rolling out the Semi truck, plus something extra ...
Elon Musk presents the Tesla Semi. Tesla

... 20. The New Roadster! Tesla went back to its roots, but this time the Roadster would be a clean-sheet design and with an estimated 0-60 mph of 1.9 seconds, the fastest production car in the world.

21. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches ...
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on February 6, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket is the most powerful rocket in the world and is carrying a Tesla Roadster into orbit. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

... And sends an original Tesla Roadster toward Mars. Musk could have used any payload, but he chose his personal, red Roadster, piloted by "Starman."
SpaceX via Getty Images

22. The Model Y launches. In 2019, Tesla added to its fleet with the Model Y, a compact crossover.
Tesla Model Y. Tesla Motors/Handout via Reuters

23. The Cybertruck blows minds. At the end of 2019, Tesla made good on its promise to create a pickup truck. But nobody was prepared for the stainless-steel beast, which looked like it was borrowed from the future.
Tesla Cybertruck. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

24. Tesla China. The company built a new factory in about a year — record time for the auto industry. By 2020, Tesla was delivering vehicles to customers.
A Tesla Model 3 is seen at the company's Gigafactory in Shanghai, China. REUTERS/Yilei Sun

25. Tesla Germany. In late 2019, Tesla announced that Gigafactory 4 would be situated near Berlin. Construction began in 2020, and the factory was expected to build up to 500,000 vehicles per year.
Business Insider/Vegas von Vogelstein 

From 2021: Tesla Delivers First Model S Plaid, Surpasses A Trillion-Dollar Valuation

January: Tesla announces it will accept cryptocurrency
Stock price: $243.26

June: First Model S Plaid delivered
Stock price: $207.97

August 19: Tesla hosts first AI Day
Stock price: $224.49

October 25: Tesla surpasses $1 trillion valuation
Stock price: $341.62

December 1: Tesla moves headquarters to Texas
Stock price: $365.00
2022: New Lawsuits And Gigafactories

February 11: Tesla faces racial discrimination lawsuit
Stock price: $286.67

March 22: Tesla opens Gigafactory Berlin
Stock price: $331.33

April 7: Tesla opens Gigafactory Texas
Stock price: $352.42

June: Tesla cuts 10 percent of salaried staff
Stock price: $246.79

August: California accuses Tesla of misrepresenting Autopilot and FSD
Stock price: $297.28

August 25: Tesla 3-for-1 stock split goes into effect
Stock price: $296.07

September: Tesla hosts second AI Day
Stock price: $287.81

Onlookers may be able to garner many valuable lessons from Tesla’s history, but suffice it to say that it has been a long and winding road, full of both failures and successes. With a new Gigafactory location set to be announced this year and continued expansion of the company’s innovations across worldwide markets, the next decade is likely to be a Tesla-dominated one — even more so than the last decade.

Source: businessinsider.com | studylib.net | tesla.com | cleantechnica.com |