Hansy Mannil Jul 10, 2023

In just over a decade, Tesla Motors has gone from a virtual unknown to one of the biggest brands on the planet. With their vision of sustainable transport and a cleaner planet, Tesla has redefined what we think we know about electric cars.

So what is it about this brand that separates them from the rest?


What does it take to build a super power?

The People

Who are the people responsible for taking an idea and moulding it into a super-brand?

Elon Musk

If the question is 'What makes Tesla so special?', 'Elon Musk' has to be part of the answer.

With the brains to bring the future to the modern world, and the x-factor to capture everyone's attention, Elon Musk is now one of the most influential and successful entrepreneurs of modern times.

A graduate of Physics and Economics, Musk took an entrepreneurial path early. Enjoying early success, the tech-entrepreneur has re-invested millions of his own fortune straight back into his next idea in his quest to build a more sustainable world.

Brought on as Chairman of the Tesla Board in 2004, Elon Musk's rise through the ranks of the business and science worlds began much earlier in his life.

Musk started a software company, Zip2, with his brother in 1995, which sold for over $307M just four years later. He later brought PayPal to the world, before turning his attention to SpaceX - a rocketry company - to pursue his own vision for a human colony on Mars.

It seems whatever Elon Musk touches turns to gold. Currently, he keeps a sleeping bag under his desk at the end of the Model X production line in Tesla's facility in Fremont, California (for those nights when it's just easier to sleep at the office).

Taking a bite out of (the) Apple

Whilst there continues to be constant speculation that Tesla and tech-superpower Apple are set to join forces, so far Tesla seem to be more interested in poaching brilliant minds from Apple than collaborating.

Tesla has so far swayed roughly 150 Apple employees to come to the other side - with the 17" touchscreen that controls most of the Model S designed solely by ex-Apple employees.

Some of Tesla's best gets include (former) Apple Hardware Designer, Doug Field, who is now VP of Tesla's Vehicle Program, and former Apple Retail Strategist, George Blankenship.

If there is a collaboration coming in the near-future, Apple had better hope that all their brilliant minds haven't already made the switch.

The Philosophy

Every great idea has to start somewhere, and by staying true to that idea and their philosophy, Tesla has created a brand that is highly regarded for their passion for a cleaner world.

The Mission

"Tesla's mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy" reads the front of their webpage.

Tesla aims to create high-quality, sustainable vehicles for their customers, at an eventual price point that enables most people to get their hands on a Tesla of their own.

Their philosophy seems to be working, with 89% of customers saying they would buy Tesla again.

Embracing Open Source

"Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal."

On 12 June, 2014, Tesla published a blog article announcing the wall of patents in their Palo Alto Headquarters no longer existed.

From that point onwards, Tesla would not issue patent lawsuits to any other companies who want to use their technology. By making their intellectual property available to all, Tesla hoped other car makers could help make sustainable travel a reality sooner.

With 2 billion vehicles expected to be on roads worldwide by 2035, Tesla recognised that a rising tide would lift all boats. To help deliver on their ultimate goal of making electric-powered transportation mainstream, Tesla would benefit from a critical mass of electric cars (and electric car manufacturers) to help them lobby for needed infrastructure - such as charging stations - and gain market share from petrol-powered competitors.

The Technology

They had the idea, and they recruited some of the world's best minds to make it a reality.

Battery Technology

When Tesla released the Model S, they announced they had made significant changes to their batteries. By partially replacing graphite with silicon - which has ten-times higher charging capacity - they would increase the charge in each battery, allowing for longer distances to be travelled in-between charges.

Tesla unveiled the Powerwall in 2015 with an immaculately stage-managed, Apple-esque launch - the enigmatic CEO front-and-centre, the stage-width screen, and the tantalising build-up to the unveiling in front of hundreds of salivating early adopters.

Connected to either solar panels or the grid, this pack is small enough to be stored on a garage wall, and with the ability to power an average house for a few hours is a significant step towards a world powered without the use of fossil fuels.

When Musk announced the Powerwall, he stated "Tesla is not just an automotive company, it's an energy innovation company."

AutoPilot, AutoPark, Summon

In a time when Silicon Valley (and by extension the rest of the world) was talking about driverless cars, Tesla were pushing the envelope. The Tesla Model S can now automatically steer, change lanes, and park itself without the driver having to manoeuvre the vehicle.

'AutoPilot' keeps the car in its lane without the driver using the steering-wheel, and takes into account other vehicles and obstacles on the road to avoid collisions.

The latest feature is 'Summon' - and yes, it does what you're thinking.

You can drive your Tesla home into your driveway, and exit the car leaving the vehicle to park itself in the garage and shut itself down, only to start itself up and reverse out of the driveway in the morning without anyone behind the wheel.

Although whilst driving at high-speeds the technology still requires the driver's hand to remain on the wheel, the technology created has put the future of driverless-cars right into the spotlight, as Google and various car brands race to be the first company to release a fully autonomous vehicle.

'AutoPark' can detect a parking spot simply by driving past it, and will parallel-park the vehicle itself - controlling both the steering and the speed.

Powering Up

To successfully replace petrol-powered vehicles, Tesla is working to ensure that refuelling an electric car is as easy to do as it currently is to fill a tank with petrol.

To do that, Tesla is implementing Supercharge stations, as well as Destination Charging outlets for drivers to recharge their Teslas as required (Tesla is in talks to opening up their stations to all electric vehicles - regardless of brand).

Destination Charging outlets are available in many hotels, shopping centres and carparks, and can charge a battery in roughly 15 minutes. There are currently 74 charging stations across Australia, but with Tesla's popularity on the rise, expect that number to grow significantly before the release of the Model 3.

Model S ready for delivery #Tesla #Chambourcy #France #cars

A photo posted by Tesla Motors (@teslamotors) on Nov 21, 2015 at 1:43am PST


The Execution

With a potent mix of brilliant minds, new technology, and a philosophy for a sustainable future, Tesla has all the makings of a super brand, and so far they've managed to pull it off.

Electric Cars

What Tesla has done so well, is take a well-known idea - the Electric Car - that has never successfully 'made it' on a global scale, and has turn it into a good-looking, high-performance and desirable car to own and run.

Roadster: Revealed in mid-2006, and delivered in early-2008, The Roadster was the first ever mass-produced electric sports car to be released. The Roadster can travel 393km on a single charge, and can go from 0-97km/h in 3.7 seconds. Launched to herald a new era in clean-travel, it seems that the Roadster was a little ahead of its time, selling a disappointing 2,450 units worldwide.

Model S: If the world wasn't ready for the Roadster, they were certainly champing at the bit to get their hands on a Model S. A model to redefine how we think about sedans, the Model S is one of the safest and most powerful cars on the road.

Boasting 0-100km/h acceleration in 3 seconds, it has also been designed with a reinforced cabin, auto-shutdown battery and Autopilot to keep you as safe as possible. First released in 2012, selling 250 models in its first quarter, it has sold 12,420 units in the first quarter of 2016 alone, with a total of approximately 120,000 units sold to date globally.

Model 3: Unveiled in March this year, the Tesla Model 3 has already become a global hit. With first deliveries expected in late 2017, and with over 400,000 reservations made so far, the car is set to make Tesla over $18.5bn. With a minimum electric range of 346km and a price in the USA of $35k USD before government incentives, it is now far more affordable for many people to own a mean, green driving machine.


The US price of Tesla's first car, The Roadster, was US$109,000. Tesla Model X was US$71,500, and the Model 3 is US$35,000.

The car brand has stated that they are "hell bent" on making clean driving financially achievable for the entire population, and having only high-end, high-priced vehicles on the market wasn't ever going to make this a reality.

So with the cost of owning a Tesla becoming more and more attainable, Elon Musk has announced that whilst "the Model 3 was designed such that roughly half the people were able to afford it... with the fourth generation (the Tesla Model 4, as yet unannounced) everyone will be able to afford the car".


Tesla is currently available in over 35 countries including Australia. Musk announced in a tweet in April that the Model 3 is being made available in India, Brazil, South Korea and South Africa amongst others, bringing the total number of countries where Teslas will be available to 49.

At the moment there are only approximately 600 Teslas on the road in Australia, but with over 200 pre-orders of the Model 3 before it was officially released the number of Tesla drivers is set to rise by at least 30% come late-2017.

Government Help

Tesla took a $465M loan from the US Department of Energy is 2008, and after raising $226M in its Initial Public Offering in 2010 became the first American car company to go public in over 60 years. By mid-2013, Tesla had paid off the near-half billion dollar government loan in full - some nine years early.

Cost-free Hype

Perhaps what Tesla does best is that they have the world eagerly watching their every move - without a cent being spent on advertising. By using social media, attending tech conferences and having products that do the talking for them, Tesla has managed to get their name and message out there, and sell all of their models, without an advertising budget. In comparison, General Motors spent $1.7bn on advertising just in the US in 2014.

Want to get your hands on a new Tesla, or have your eye on something else? Stratton can help!

Get started with a 60-second online car finance quote here, or call one of our expert consultants on 1300 STRATTON (787 288)

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