Last year, we reported on Atieva, an electric vehicle startup founded by Bernard Tse, a former Tesla Vice President and board member. Tse was on Tesla’s board from 2003 to 2007 and he headed Tesla’s short-lived energy division during his last year at the company – long before it relaunched a new and improved ‘Tesla Energy’ division in 2015.
Tse resigned from the board to head the ‘Tesla Energy Group’, but left not long after Martin Eberhard, then Tesla’s CEO and longtime friend of Tse, was ousted by Elon Musk. Tesla reorganized to adjust their worrying cash burn at the time and focused on the Tesla Roadster instead of energy storage solutions.
After leaving, he found Atieva with the ambition to make it something similar to what he and Eberhard hoped the ‘Tesla Energy Group’ could become; a company developing cell agnostic battery packs both for third-party electric vehicles and other energy storage applications.
But as we reported last year, the company eventually hired Peter Rawlinson, Tesla VP and Model S Chief Engineer, along with several other EV experts from Tesla and other companies, and then changed its focus to bring to market a new electric vehicle from the ground up and not just the drivetrain.
A few weeks ago, Tesla Motors launched “Tesla Energy” by unveiling a new product series of home battery packs and energy storage products for commercial and utility scale use. JB Straubel, Tesla’s CTO, said Tesla has been working on the project for a long time. We now learn that the project might have been longer in the making than we originally thought. We uncover a blog post by former Tesla CEO, Martin Eberhard, dating May 22nd, 2007 that was removed from Tesla’s website. The post is titled “Introducing Tesla Energy Group”.
Out of the 5 founding members of Tesla motors, only two remain with the company; of course the now famous Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, Chairman and Product Architect, and JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer. But the three expatriates; Marc Tarpenning, Martin Eberhard and Ian Wright, were instrumental to the founding of Tesla and although they left the car company, some in better terms than others, it is interesting to learn about what they are doing now. Unsurprisingly, most of them are still in the EV business.
An electric vehicle company long in the making, well-funded and full of Tesla Motors expats, is about to come out of “stealth mode”
Bernard Tse, a former Tesla Motors Vice President and board member, founded Atieva in 2007 after leaving Tesla. The company was first setup to make software to manage battery packs and package their tech for a cell agnostic battery pack technology, but they evolved while operating in “stealth mode” for the past few years, now we learn they have been working on not only the batteries, but a complete electric vehicle.
The company describes the vehicle as a “breakthrough electric car”. They don’t want to elaborate and It’s hardly a confirmation, but looking at the animation on their website, their vehicle might be a 2-door sport car.