Have current and former Tesla execs ‘found’ the road to peace?

The latest about Tesla, your favorite Silicon Valley car maker: The San Jose Business Journal has reported that former CEO Martin Eberhard has dropped his lawsuit against current CEO Elon Musk, also of PayPal and SpaceX fame. Besides libel, slander and breach of contract, the suit had accused Musk of falsely claiming to be a Tesla co-founder.

Tesla, which has certainly been on one strange road — financial troubles, delays in actually putting out a product, other lawsuits — since it was founded in 2003, was incorporated by Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. The charismatic Musk (did you see him on Letterman?) joined the San Carlos company the next year, and provided much of the initial funding to get it going. The suit, reportedly 146 pages that detailed the demise of the relationship between the two men, sought to keep Musk from claiming he was the company’s founder. A quick check of Tesla’s Web site today identifies Musk as chairman, product architect and CEO.


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  • Jerry

    Coincidentally, just this morning a little green Tesla Roadster ZOOMED past me while I was driving into Chicago this morning — the first time I’ve seen one in real life — and it filled my techie heart with instant electro-car lust!

    I wish them well, and am glad the personal drama seems to be on the fade.

  • Jonny Kwest

    Tesla is a flash in the pan. The technology gained some buzz in the hipster techie magazines (Wired and others) of late and have become sort of the mainstream media touchstone for the hippest in silicon valley tech. their product is sleek, is of green technology and their executives have been idolized as rockstars.

    The American auto industry is dead partly because they did not embrace battery car technology to the extent that Japanese did. The following financial crisis fueled the desire for cheaper, more efficient cars as Americans tightened their belts. The revival of this industry will rely heavily on how well they develop green technologies (battery operated cars, better fuel efficiency, recyclable parts and sound maintenance methodology). This will be a gargantuan effort by Chrysler, Ford and GM which recently announced their green tech Volt car that is capable of 230 mpg (city). The estimated purchase of the Volt 4-door is pricey (approx $40-50K) but is still less than half of the Tesla Roadster ($109,000).

    My prediction is that Tesla will inevitably run out of the media infused steam it currently enjoys and will be bought out by a larger auto company (Nissan, Toyota, or GM, for example). The Tesla technology will be used to develop the next generation of battery powered autos and we will all be the better for it.

    Care to make bets on when they will close the plant?

  • dermbuilder

    The Tesla roadster is expensive at about $100,000, but to put that into perspective, it is actually cheaper than any I.C.E. car that can equal or exceed its performance! It being in a class with the likes of Ferrari Masserati Etc. And none of those cars are noted for their gas millage!

  • Carl R

    What comedy. It is like academia: the battles are so intense because the stakes are so low.

    Who founded Tesla? Give me a break. Who cares? It is a flop.

  • The Cat

    “It is a flop.”
    WTF? How do you define ‘flop?’ The company has only been around for 6 years, has developed the best electric vehicle ever sold (compare the performance and range to any other available electric), sells the ONLY highway capable EV available in America or Europe, has recently acheived profitability based on Roadster sales, is developing a lower cost four door sedan, and is working with Daimler-Benz on the electric Smart Car… and they’re a “flop” because…? Oh wait, they’re a ‘flop’ because they don’t make a car that goes “vroom vroom” real loud so you can impress the ladies. Got it.

  • Carl R

    It is a flop.

    Turning a “surprise profit” of $1M after six years and countless $M sunk is a flop.

    Anybody who has been in a funded startup flop knows the drill; after a few years, the pressure is on, somehow, briefly, a so-called profit appears. Six years of bad habits and looking at their own navel and issuing press releases based on what they see there won’t ever turn into a company.

    Pour enough money into it and you can make pigs fly. Are they a business: no. Businesses have to do dirty things like make more than they spend quarter after quarter after quarter. Ask Toyota.