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Did Elon Musk found Tesla?

Musk is the company’s longtime CEO, but is he the original founder?

tesla powerwall and elon musk
Image: KnowTechie

Elon Musk has developed himself into a tech legend and the richest man in the world over the last few decades. The project that he’s likely known for the most is the electric car company, Tesla. But is Elon Musk really an original founder of Tesla?

Today, Tesla is certainly in the hands and control of Elon Musk. The eccentric billionaire has developed the business over the years, offering new products like solar panels and advancing the electric car brand with self-driving technology.

But was all of this the original vision of Tesla? Also, is Elon Musk even the genius mind behind starting the company in the first place?

Is Elon Musk the original founder of Tesla?

Short answer: Technically, yes. Literally, no.

If you look on Tesla’s website, it lists Elon Musk as a co-founder of the company, among several other endeavors. And, in fact, Musk has been a part of the company for a majority of its time as an early investor back in 2004.

READ MORE: Where is Elon Musk from?

But at the company’s inception, there were two other people who initially came up with the idea. A 2019 interview with CNBC reveals the company’s original founders, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.

Eberhard and Tarpenning originally created the company back in 2003 in pursuit of launching the original Tesla Roadster. Musk was an early investor in the company, earning himself a position as chairman of the company’s board after a 2004 investment.

Musk maintained his position in the company until 2008 when he became Tesla’s CEO. He was the fourth person to hold the title of CEO.

READ MORE: How old is Elon Musk?

Since 2008, Elon Musk has definitely turned Tesla into his own business. He isn’t literally one of the original founders of the company. But most of what we know Tesla for today can be attributed to Elon Musk.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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