Some Tesla Inc TSLA fans may know the story of how a lunch date led to the formation of the company as we know it today. For others, the story, which was reshared by Tesla co-founders JB Straubel and Elon Musk, may be new.
What Happened: Speaking together at the Financial Times “Future of the Car” event recently, Straubel and Musk recalled their lunch date that led to the creation of Tesla and the groundwork for the Tesla Roadster.
Musk said he received a call from Strabuel out of the blue to discuss items like space and hydrogen airplanes. Musk agreed to the lunch, and ultimately the conversation shifted to lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicles.
Musk shared with Straubel that he thought electric vehicles were the future. Straubel invited Musk to test drive the tzero prototype from AC Propulsion.
“I got a test drive in the tzero and I tried to convince them to commercialize the T-O,” Musk said. “I tried very hard, actually, to commercialize the tzero electric sports car.”
The AC Propulsion team was not interested in commercializing the vehicle, which led to Musk asking about his potential with the vehicle.
“Well do you mind if I do that? Do you mind if I create a commercial electric sports car?”
Musk said the group said yeah, and he began the mission of creating a company to commercialize the tzero along with Straubel.
Tom Gage from AC Propulsion introduced Musk to a trio that was interested in commercializing the vehicle, that was Marc Tarpenning, Martin Eberhard and Ian Wright.
“It was really just three guys and JB and me. We just decided to team up and create a commercial version of the tzero electric sports car.”
Why It’s Important: The creation of Tesla as a company remains a controversial topic to this day, as the three co-founders outside of Musk and Straubel have claimed they had a company prior to ever meeting Musk, something the world’s richest man disagrees with.
Musk and Straubel also shared details of the early struggles of the company during their speaking event at the “Future of the Car” event.
Straubel left Tesla in 2019 and is now the CEO of Redwood Materials.
The resharing of the famous lunch meeting could be an important lesson for entrepreneurs that even when the original topic of a lunch meeting isn’t something you want to discuss, it could be a meeting that could lead to one of the most important business decisions of all time.
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