Tesla, Inc. is an American electric vehicle and clean energy company based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla's current products include electric cars, battery energy storage from home to grid scale, solar panels and solar roof tiles, as well as other related products and services. Tesla is ranked as the world's best-selling plug-in and battery electric passenger car manufacturer, with a market share of 16% of the plug-in segment and 23% of the battery electric segment 2020 sales. Through its subsidiary SolarCity, Tesla develops and is a major installer of solar photovoltaic systems in the United States. Tesla is also one of the largest global suppliers of battery energy storage systems, with 3 GWh of battery storage supplied in 2020.
Founded in July 2003 as Tesla Motors, the company's name is a tribute to inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. Elon Musk, who contributed most of the funding in the early days, has served as CEO since 2008. According to Musk, the purpose of Tesla is to help expedite the move to sustainable transport and energy, obtained through electric vehicles and solar power. Tesla began production of their first car model, the Roadster, in 2009. This was followed by the Model S sedan in 2012, the Model X SUV in 2015, the higher volume Model 3 sedan in 2017, and the Model Y crossover in 2020. The Model 3 is the world's all-time best-selling plug-in electric car, with more than 800,000 delivered through December 2020. Tesla global vehicle sales were 499,550 units in 2020, a 35.8% increase over the previous year. In 2020, the company surpassed the 1 million mark of electric cars produced.
Tesla has been the subject of numerous lawsuits and controversies arising from statements and acts of CEO Elon Musk, allegations of whistleblower retaliation, alleged worker rights violations, and allegedly unresolved and dangerous technical problems with their products.