Martin Eberhard

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Martin Eberhard
Martin Eberhard.jpg
Eberhard in 2006
Martin Forest Eberhard
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Known for

Martin Forest Eberhard is an engineer, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and inventor. He received a BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1982 and an MS in Electrical Engineering from the same school in 1984. In 2015, he was inducted into the University of Illinois Engineering Hall of Fame. He co-founded Tesla, Inc. (then Tesla Motors) with Marc Tarpenning In 2002, where Eberhard was its original chairman, and served as its CEO until late 2007.[1][2][3][4]


Early career[edit]

Eberhard began his career as an electrical engineer at Wyse Technology, where he designed the WY-30 ASCII computer terminal as his first product. Eberhard co-founded Network Computing Devices in 1987, where he served as chief engineer through its IPO on 1992, developing several successful products including X Window System network terminals.

In 1996, Eberhard founded NuvoMedia with Marc Tarpenning, where they developed the Rocket eBook, the first e-book with secure internet delivery of content, the Rocket eBook. Eberhard served as chairman and CEO until NuvoMedia’s acquisition by Gemstar in 2000.

Tesla Motors[edit]

Eberhard's interest in sports cars, dependence on oil imports, and global warming led him to found Silicon Valley's first automobile company to produce a prototype called the AC Propulsion tzero. In 2003 Eberhard co-founded (with Marc Tarpenning), and became the first CEO of, Tesla Motors, an electric car company in San Carlos, California. Eberhard’s guiding principles were: 1) an electric car should not be a compromise. With the right technology choices, it is possible to build electric cars that are actually better cars than their competition. 2) Battery technology is key to a successful electric car. Lithium ion batteries are not only suitable of automotive use; they are game-changing, making decent driving range a reality. 3) If designed right, electric cars can appeal to even the most serious car enthusiast, as electric drive is capable of seriously outperforming internal combustion enginesEberhard drives the second of Tesla Motors Founder's Series Roadsters cars, which is the first series of the Tesla Roadster (2008).[5] The Tesla Roadster is a battery electric sportscar with 244 miles (393 km) (EPA) range.

On November 30, 2007 Tesla released a press release titled "Martin Eberhard, Co-founder of Tesla Motors, to Transition to Advisory Board."[6] Fortune magazine reported in December 2007 that Elon Musk had asked Martin to leave. Musk stated in an interview that it was not due to ideological differences, but that he did not see a role for Eberhard.[7] On January 7, 2008, the New York Times reported that Tesla Motors issued a statement explaining that the co-founder and former chief executive, Martin Eberhard, "has transitioned from the board of directors and executive management of the company to the advisory board."[8]

Eberhard noted that while he had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Tesla, "so I must, by contract, be a bit careful about how I word things", he was not happy with the transition.[8] In his since-deleted Tesla Founders Blog, Eberhard criticized Tesla layoffs, which he labeled a "stealth bloodbath".[9]

In June 2009, Eberhard brought a lawsuit against Elon Musk for libel, slander, and breach of contract, alleging that Musk pushed him out of the company, publicly disparaged him, and compromised Tesla's financial health.[10] In August 2009, Eberhard dropped the lawsuit for undisclosed reasons. A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on the change, raising the likelihood of a settlement.[11] In September 2009 Tesla confirmed the settlement, but did not provide further details.[12]

Eberhard confirmed in an interview with CNBC in October 2019 that he is still a shareholder of Tesla, and is still rooting for their success.[13]


In 2010, Martin Eberhard confirmed to Autoblog Green that he was doing work with Volkswagen, but no further details were provided.[14]

inEVit / Seres[edit]

In September 2016, Eberhard founded stealth-mode startup inEVit in a bid to supply major OEMs with electric drivetrains and power storage solutions.[15][16]

SF Motors (now Seres) acquired inEVit in October 2017.[17] Eberhard served as chief innovation officer until leaving in July 2018.[18]

Personal life[edit]

He married Carolyn, whom he met at the University of Illinois, where they have been annual donors to the university's College of Engineering since 1984.[19][full citation needed]


  1. ^ "CNBC Interview with Tesla Founders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpanning".
  2. ^ Kumparak, Greg. "A brief history of Tesla". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  3. ^ "The Making Of Tesla: Invention, Betrayal, And The Birth Of The Roadster". Business Insider. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Tesla Co-Founder Marc Tarpenning Tells Definitive Story Of Company's Beginnings | CleanTechnica". Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  5. ^ "Tesla Motors - press room". 14 November 2006. Archived from the original on November 14, 2006.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ "Tesla Motors - press room". 13 December 2007. Archived from the original on December 13, 2007.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ Woody, Todd. "Tesla Motors founder ousted". Fortune - Green Wombat. Archived from the original on 2008-01-15. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b Dealbook (2007-12-04). "Unhappy Tesla Founder, or Impostor? -". Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
  9. ^ Niedermeyer, Edward (20 August 2019). "Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors". BenBella Books. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  10. ^ Eberhard Says 'Uncle' in Tesla Lawsuit Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  11. ^ "Tesla lawsuit dismissed". San Jose Business Journal. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  12. ^ Reuters Staff (2009-09-21). "Electric carmaker Tesla, former CEO settle lawsuit". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  13. ^ "Tesla's Founders On Elon Musk And The Early Days". YouTube. 6 February 2021.
  14. ^ Abuelsamid, Sam (2010-01-19). "Confirmed: Tesla Co-Founder Eberhard working with Volkswagen". Retrieved 2011-09-24.
  15. ^ Hall, Gina. "Lesser known Tesla co-founder is now heading up stealthy electric vehicle startup". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Tesla's original co-founder Martin Eberhard started a new EV startup called 'InEVit'". Retrieved 2017-09-16.
  17. ^ Motors, S. F. "SF Motors To Acquire EV Battery Module Startup InEVit, Headed By Industry Pioneer Martin Eberhard". Retrieved 2021-05-30.
  18. ^ Walz, Eric. "EV Startup SERES Hires Auto Industry Veteran to Lead its U.S. Operations". FutureCar. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Awards - Engineering at Illinois".

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