Martin Eberhard (born May 15, 1960) is an American engineer and business executive. He co-founded Tesla, Inc. (then Tesla Motors) with Marc Tarpenning in 2003, serving as CEO until 2007. Eberhard was ranked among the top 24 innovators of 2007 by Fortune Magazine. Also in 2007, Business 2.0 Magazine ranked Eberhard number 32 of the 50 people "who matter now".
Eberhard in 2006
May 15, 1960 |
|Alma mater||University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign|
Eberhard was born in Berkeley, California on May 15, 1960. He grew up in Kensington, California, attending Kensington Hilltop Elementary School there. He attended junior high school and high school in adjacent El Cerrito until the middle of 11th grade, when his family moved to Elmhurst, Illinois. He graduated from York Community High School in 1978.
Eberhard received his undergraduate degree in computer engineering in 1982, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He subsequently earned his Masters Degree in electrical engineering in 1983 from the same school.
Eberhard began his career as an electrical engineer at Wyse Technology, where he designed the WY-30 ASCII computer terminal as his first product. Later, Eberhard co-founded and founded start-up companies Network Computing Devices, Inc. (making X Window-based network terminals) and NuvoMedia that created one of the first e-book readers, the Rocket eBook.
Eberhard's interest in sports cars, dependence on oil imported, and global warming led him to found Silicon Valley's first automobile company. 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 drives the second of Tesla Motors Founder's Series Roadsters cars, which is the first series of the Tesla Roadster (2008). 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." According to the Tesla Motors Club forum and CNN Money, Martin was asked to leave, but the reason for being asked is not publicly available.
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.” On January 7, 2008, Eberhard confirmed that he was no longer employed in Tesla Motors and was only a shareholder in the company. He said he planned to start another company entirely in the green tech field. Eberhard maintained a blog at teslafounders.com that had his version of Tesla's history while he had a lawsuit against Elon Musk for libel until he dropped his lawsuit in August 2009; the blog was deleted afterwards and it is assumed there was a settlement between the parties.
In 2010, Martin Eberhard confirmed to Autoblog Green that he was doing work with Volkswagen, but no further details have been provided.
In January 2016 Eberhard joined Sokon Industry Group, a maker Electric Vehicles within China, to help transform their American branch into a domestic EV manufacturer. This branch was renamed SF Motors. 
SF Motors was founded in Silicon Valley in January 2016 as a U.S.-based technology and mobility company focused on delivering innovative, connected next-generation electric vehicles. In early 2017, SF Motors’ parent company, Sokon Industry Group, was granted production permits from the Chinese government to produce electric vehicles. 
The company has established seven R&D facilities across four countries, including the U.S., China and Germany, with Japan coming online soon. Along with establishing an R&D center in the Ann Arbor area in Michigan; SF Motors is also partnering with the University of Michigan’s Mcity innovation center, which is dedicated to leading the transformation to connected and automated vehicles.  SF Motors hosted its first University of Michigan-Sokon Autonomous Driving Seminar in August 2017. All of SF Motors’ R&D facilities will focus on intelligent e-powertrain technology, vehicle engineering, intelligent driving systems, next-generation battery technology and lightweight designs.
SF Motors also recently complete the acquisition of the AM General Commercial Assembly Plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, making it the only Electric Vehicle company to have manufacturing facilities in both the U.S. and China. It will be the first manufacturing plant in the U.S. that is wholly owned by SF Motors. The acquisition includes retaining about 430 employees at the facility who previously helped build vehicles for both Cadillac and Hummer. 
- "A key element to be a successful entrepreneur is a certain amount of naiveté, because if you actually know how hard the problem is when you set out, you don't do it." - Stanford University, 10/10/07
- "We’re not just juggling a lot of balls. We’re juggling knives and chainsaws and burning things. We have to catch every one of them, and we have to catch them by their handles."
- "Without plug-in capability, a hybrid is just a gasoline-powered car with some fancy hardware" 
- Kumparak, Greg. "A brief history of Tesla". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
- "The Making Of Tesla: Invention, Betrayal, And The Birth Of The Roadster". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
- "Tesla Co-Founder Marc Tarpenning Tells Definitive Story Of Company's Beginnings | CleanTechnica". cleantechnica.com. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
- Ryan, Oliver (2007-04-30). "24 Top innovators | 14 | FORTUNE". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
- "The 50 Who Matter Now - Martin Eberhard (32) - Business 2.0". Money.cnn.com. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
- "Tesla Motors - press room". 14 November 2006. Archived from the original on November 14, 2006.
- "Tesla Motors - press room". 13 December 2007. Archived from the original on December 13, 2007.
- "Is Martin Eberhard still with Tesla Motors?". Teslamotorsclub.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
- [dead link]
- Dealbook (2007-12-04). "Unhappy Tesla Founder, or Impostor? - NYTimes.com". Dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
- "Martin Says… « Tesla Founders Blog". 26 July 2009. Archived from the original on July 26, 2009.
- Eberhard Says 'Uncle' in Tesla Lawsuit Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- Abuelsamid, Sam (2010-01-19). "Confirmed: Tesla Co-Founder Eberhard working with Volkswagen". Green.autoblog.com. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
- "Tesla's original co-founder Martin Eberhard started a new EV startup called 'InEVit'". Retrieved 2017-09-16.
- Dunne, Michael J. "For Tesla, The Road Into China Still Looks Like A Blind Alley". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
- "F Motors Hosts Global Partner Meeting in Silicon Valley". SF Motors. Retrieved 2017-01-11.
- "Michigan's Mcity innovation center". University of Michigan. Retrieved 2017-01-11.
- Stoll, John D. (2017-06-22). "AM General Sells Indiana Plant to China-Backed SF Motors". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
- "SF Motors Acquires EV Battery Module Startup InEVit". SF Motors. Retrieved 2017-01-11.
- "Tesla Motors - think". 13 August 2007. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007.
- "Tesla Founders Blog". Teslafounders.com. Archived from the original on September 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
- "Distinguished Alumni Awards - Engineering at Illinois".
- An interview with Tesla Motors' founding father
- Comments on Eberhard's lecture at the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar, 10 October 2007
- Do Something Meaningful, Martin Eberhard speaks at Stanford
- innovate podcast (Stanford), interview with Martin, 17 November 2007
- Innovators: Powered by Pragmatism
- Martin giving a presentation to the Executive MBA class at the University of San Francisco
- Official Tesla Motors website
- Silicon Valley entrepreneurs race for electric car market
- Appearances on C-SPAN