When it comes to climate tech companies, there's only one name that's known around the world: Tesla.
Tesla has arguably been the defining climate tech success story of the 21st century, driving demand for electric vehicles and becoming one of the world's most valuable companies.
When people think of the person behind Tesla, they think of Elon Musk. But Musk wasn't there from the very beginning — he was an early investor in the company, and didn't become CEO until five years after its founding.
Martin Eberhard was there from the start. And as co-founder and founding CEO, he'd already spent years building a new kind of electric car that people would actually want to drive.
Martin started Tesla with his co-founder Marc Tarpenning in 2003 during the dark ages of electric cars. Automakers had lobbied against policies promoting EVs in the 90s, and then killed their own battery-powered models. It took years of trial and error before Tesla hit the scene with the first Roadster.
Martin’s time as CEO came to an end in 2007, when he was unceremoniously kicked out of the position by Tesla’s board. But he left his mark on the EV world.
Emily Kirsch spoke with Martin about his long history as an entrepreneur, the origins of Tesla, cobbling together the parts for Tesla’s first EV prototype, and blowing up batteries in his yard.
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