One of Fortune Magazine's Top Innovators and the man who founded the revolutionary Car Company, Tesla Motors, Martin Eberhard is waking business audiences up to the idea that innovation is the key to success and the key to making green cool. From the Rocket eBook to the Tesla Roadster, the visionary Eberhard is continuously pushing the envelope and changing the way we think of product development, business and the business of Green.
But how did this story begin?
Eberhard facilitated the sale of NuvoMedia, the company he started that invented the Rocket eBook, to Gemstar/TV Guide in 2000. Shortly after, Eberhard persuaded his business associate Marc Tarpenning to join him to take a fresh look at electric cars, concerned about the increasingly undeniable global warming trend, embarrassed by the US's failure to agree to the Kyoto Protocols, and worried about the global consequences of America's dependence on oil. Electric cars made perfect sense to Eberhard, an electrical engineer who has spent his career in the innovative stew of Silicon Valley.
He re-invented the electric car, making it highly desirable, even if not affordable to all. The Tesla Roadster was born: beautiful, unbelievably quick, and yet the most energy efficient car on the road. With less constraint on price, Eberhard and Tarpenning conceived a completely new drivetrain, powered by commodity lithium ion batteries like those in consumer electronics- and achieved the longest driving range of any production electric car by a factor of two.
Even before the first Tesla car ships, Eberhard's vision has had a deep impact on the auto industry and the public perception of what an electric car can be. For example, recently Bob Lutz, Vice-Chairman of General Motors, publicly commented that he restarted GM's electric car program, creating the upcoming Chevy Volt as a direct response to the Tesla Roadster.Eberhard has recently left Tesla Motors to pursue other opportunities.