Recently Tesla become the 4th most valuable car company in the world. Therefore, we decided to pay close attention to the interesting facts around the company’s name. Who picked the names? How it was chosen? What kind of naming trend has been started? Find out!

1. Elon Musk didn’t choose the name “Tesla”

Elon Musk didn’t choose the name Tesla and the reason is that he is not one of the original founders of the company Tesla Motors. Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning are the ones who originally founded Tesla Motors. They had to choose between the names of the scientists Nikola Tesla and Michael Faraday[1] for their brand. Finally, they picked Tesla and several months after the official naming Elon Musk started his investment in Tesla Motors. So in a matter of facts Elon Musk didn’t make the choice to name the company Tesla. The credit goes to Marc and Martin, especially to Martin.

 

2. The name Tesla Motors was picked on a romantic night

One night in 2003 Martin Eberhard went out on a date night with Carolyn – the woman who would later become his wife. But back then when they were dating, he was just taking the first step to launch an electric car start-up. However, the start-up still had no name. He was thinking about it for months. But nothing really came to his mind. He didn’t want the name of his company to sound ecological, neither too engineer focused. He was constantly pitching his girlfriend about potential names. And at this very night in 2003 the fateful pitch happened. Eberhard thought about the AC induction motor, which was planned to be used by the company and was invented by the scientist Nikola Tesla. And the idea hit him – Tesla Motors. His girlfriend liked it and this is how they picked the name of the now 28 billion dollar worth company. On April 23, 2003, Eberhard’s cofounder Marc Tarpenning nabbed the domain name: Teslamotors.com.

3. Faraday vs. Nikola vs. Tesla

Faraday was once an alternative name choice for Tesla Motors. Today it’s the name of another electric car company – Faraday Future. Faraday Future was founded in 2014 and like Tesla Motors, its name is a hommаge to another great scientist from history – Michael Faraday. He invented The Faraday’s law of induction. Given the aforementioned fact that Faraday was a potentially naming choice for Tesla Motors, it’s easy to suggest that Tesla’s influence is somewhere there in Faraday Future. But on the other hand, Faraday and Tesla are two different names and we can’t talk about naming imitation.
Another start-up company that sells electric vehicles is Nikola Motor. Here we have clear imitation, because the company uses the name of the same scientist who became patron of a start-up company’s name back in 2003. Actually, if imitation is the highest form of flattery, then Tesla’s original founders must be very happy.

4. What Musk actually did for the name of Tesla Motors?

Musk may not have been involved in picking the name of Tesla Motors but he definitely involved himself into dropping the Motors and cutting the company name by half. Now only Tesla remains. The decision has a reasonable explanation. The change of the name reflects the moves Musk made to combine his clean energy efforts. Tesla makes not only electric cars, but also home batteries and solar roofs. That’s why the ambition of the company today goes way beyond just selling electric cars. Given this fact, the motivation behind the change of the name is understandable. It’s probably interesting to mention that this kind of name change echoes another tech giant’s rebranding and expansion: 10 years ago, when Apple launched the iPhone, the company dropped “Computer” from its name to become, simply, Apple Inc.

5. The meanings of Tesla

In every language tesla is a unit of magnetic flux density equal to one weber per square meter. The first known use of the word dates from 1958. The other meaning of the word is of course the Serbian family name. This is the main context in which the word may be used today, except the context of electric vehicles, of course.

[1] http://fortune.com/2016/05/04/tesla-faraday/