Tesla Motors announced the completion of its $40 million Series C financing led by VantagePoint Venture Partners, one of the largest CleanTech investors in Silicon Valley, and by Elon Musk, founder of Paypal and CEO of SpaceX.
The financing will be used to launch the company’s first product, a high performance electric sportscar, and to support final safety compliance testing and production. The company also announced that Jim Marver, managing partner and co-founder of VantagePoint Venture Partners, will join Tesla's Board of Directors.
Other institutional investors include Draper Fisher Jurveston and JP Morgan Bay Area Equity Fund. Several individuals with strong interest in CleanTech investment also participated, including Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Nick Pritzker (through his investment partnership, Tao LLC), and Jeff Skoll (through his investment company, Capricorn Management LLC).
By leading the technology change from gasoline to electric vehicles, I believe Tesla has the potential to be one of the great car companies of the 21st century. The starting point is a high performance sportscar, but the long term vision is to build cars of all kinds, including low-cost family vehicles. Tesla is one of those rare opportunities to change the world in a positive way and build a valuable company in the process.—Elon Musk, Chairman of Tesla Motors
Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla Motors in June 2003 to create efficient electric cars for people who love to drive. Tesla Motors creates vehicles that conform to all US safety, environmental and durability standards. Tesla’s cars include modern safety equipment such as airbags, front crumple zones, side impact protection, 2-1/2 mph bumpers. Tesla will sell cars in the US only when they pass the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS).
Tesla says that it will reveal further details of its business and its cars in early July 2006.
|The Wrightspeed X1 prototype.|
In its short life, Tesla has already spawned a competitor: Wrightspeed. Created by Ian Wright, who worked for Tesla for a short period, Wrightspeed is setting out to build “extreme performance electric supercars.”
Its X1 prototype car uses an AC Propulsion 3-phase AC induction motor and inverter and a lithium-ion battery as the power source. The car accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 3 seconds, has a top, electronically limited speed of 112 mph, and a range of about 100 miles in urban use.