Tesla Team Brawls Over Who Deserves Credit For The Company

Tesla Elon Musk Driving

As if there wasn’t already enough to worry about, another fight has broken out over who deserves the credit for Tesla.

This time, it’s Tesla’s ex-chief marketing officer, Darryl Siry and its ex-communications director David Vespremi throwing mud at each other.

Last week, Siry said Tesla’s technologists deserve the credit, not the self-congratulating Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard (who are suing each other over exactly this point). Now, Vespremi says Siry isn’t giving the founders their due. (It should be pointed out that Vespremi was fired by Siry and then sued him.)

The crux of Siry’s argument was that Eberhard and  Musk are just marketers and that Tom Gage and Alan Cocconi of AC Propulsion developed the technology for the Roadster.  In other words, THEY Deserve the credit.

Vesprimi fires back at Siry:  Sure, geeks built the technology, but it’s the person that takes the idea from the garage to the road that deserves the credit. In this case, Eberhard and Musk deserve the credit.

Autoblog: Logical fallacy aside, mindful readers with an interest in the Tesla Roadster’s evolution would be well advised to put AC Propulsion in its historical place – namely, as a company that took the advances of Aerovironment (in the form of the GM Impact program which led to the EV-1) to the next step. Going back further, it was a team from Cal Tech, led by Wally Rippel, which piqued Aerovironment’s initial interest in electric cars via the GM-sponsored Sun Raycer. And that is just for the “nouveau electric car.” We can go back a hundred years or more if we want to dig even further into the electric horseless carriage archives – after all, behind every originator is another originator.

For those interested in the progression, AC Propulsion falls roughly midstream in this sequence: Caltech-> Wally Rippel->Sun Raycer->Aerovironment->Al Cocconi->Impact (and by extension, EV1)->AC Propulsion->Martin Eberhard (rescuing ACP with his investment in capital and the introduction of commodity lithium ion batteries)->Tesla (founded by Eberhard/Tarpenning and principally funded by Elon Musk). What a difference an “o” makes…

The idea for ‘an electric sportscar (sic) with excellent range and amazing acceleration’ may have stalled with AC Propulsion if Martin Eberhard had not entered the picture with his investment in capital and the introduction of commodity lithium ion batteries.

Enough. We hereby offer to broker a compromise. How’s this?

TESLA deserves the credit for Tesla (such as it is).

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