Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors, Inc.) is an American automotive and energy company based in Palo Alto, California. The company specializes in electric car manufacturing and, through its SolarCity subsidiary, solar panel manufacturing. It operates multiple production and assembly plants, notably Gigafactory 1 near Reno, Nevada, and its main vehicle manufacturing facility at Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. As of June 2018, Tesla sells the Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles, Powerwall and Powerpack batteries, solar panels, solar roof tiles, and some related products.
Musk took an active role within the company and oversaw Roadster product design at a detailed level. In addition to his daily operational roles, Musk was the controlling investor in Tesla from the first financing round, funding the large majority of the Series A capital investment round of US$7.5 million with personal funds. Musk later led Tesla Motors' Series B, US$13 million, and co-led the third, US$40 million round in May 2006. Tesla's third round included investment from prominent entrepreneurs including Google co-founders Sergey Brin & Larry Page, former eBay President Jeff Skoll, Hyatt heir Nick Pritzker and added the VC firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Capricorn Management and The Bay Area Equity Fund managed by JPMorgan Chase. The fourth round in May 2007 added another US$45 million and brought the total investments to over US$105 million through private financing.
Tesla's sales strategy is to sell its vehicles online and in company-owned showrooms rather than through a conventional dealer network.
Tesla's technology strategy focuses on pure-electric propulsion technology, and transferring other approaches from the technology industry to transportation, such as online software updates. Tesla allows its technology patents to be used by anyone in good faith. Licensing agreements include provisions whereby the recipient agrees not to file patent suits against Tesla, or to copy its designs directly. Tesla retained control of its other intellectual property, such as trademarks and trade secrets to prevent direct copying of its technology.
Tesla's global sales since 2012 totaled over 532,000 units at the end of 2018, of which, over 245,000 were delivered in 2018, up almost 138% from 2017. Year over year Tesla U.S. vehicle sales from 2017 to 2018 increased by 280% from 48,000 to 182,400. As of October 2018, Tesla's sales represented about 20% of the all-electric cars on the world's roads, according to Navigant Research. In July 2017, Tesla said their vehicles had traveled 5 billion miles (8 billion km).