- The millionth car from EV maker Tesla is the company’s newest, the Model Y, and was produced at the company’s Fremont, California, factory.
- Tesla’s first vehicle, the Roadster, went into production in 2008.
- No word on where the one millionth Tesla will end up.
In 2003 Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning started a little car company. Investor and chairman of the board Elon Musk showed up in 2004, and in 2006, Tesla unveiled its electric Roadster that looked like a Lotus Elise. Now almost 17 years later, the millionth Tesla has rolled off the factory floor in Fremont, California.
The Model Y that was named number 1,000,000 is surrounded by Tesla employees outside the facility in Fremont in the photo above. It looks as though the vehicle was produced in one of Tesla’s tent-style buildings that were erected when it was trying to keep up with the growing demand for production of the Model 3.
The Model Y is the latest vehicle from the automaker, with the polarizing Cybertruck slated to begin production next beginning in late 2021. With a solid lineup, the Tesla we know today wasn’t always run by tweet-machine Musk.
Elon Musk took over the reins in 2008 after the departure of Eberhard and Tarpenning and some CEO shuffling. The Tesla we know today really started when the Model S went into production in 2012. But before that, Musk’s 2006 master plan was published. Basically, the idea was to produce expensive vehicles to fund the development of affordable EVs. Since then the company has been through “production hell” moments building the Model 3, the launch of an energy business that includes solar panels and battery storage, and the building of a second car factory in China.
In short, what shouldn’t have happened happened: an American car company that builds electric vehicles survived. While profits are hard to come by, it’s actually putting cars on the road that people want. The Model 3 is the best-selling electric vehicle on the planet, and the Model Y is in production ahead of schedule.
More important, Tesla sped up the electrification of the automotive world. Without Tesla, there’s no Porsche Taycan, Chevy Bolt EV. or upcoming GMC Hummer EV. There’s no huge investment from Volkswagen to build an electric platform—although Dieselgate also helped usher that into existence.
As Musk tweets about the millionth Tesla coming off the line, it’s true this represents a huge milestone for the company and the auto world as a whole. For an industry transitioning to electrification, it’s confirmation that investing in EVs is the right decision. Now the old guard just has to catch up with the small company in California that changed everything.
We reached out to Tesla about the fate of the millionth vehicle. Will it end up in a museum? Will it be shipped to a lucky customer? Will Musk shoot it into space to join his Roadster? If they reveal that information, we’ll let you know.