Martin Eberhard and Elon Musk are engaged in a cat fight to the death over who is the TRUE founder of Tesla.
The battle, while entertaining, might ultimately end as a two way tie for last, since neither of them will end up looking particularly great, says Darryl Siry, on Wired’s Autotopia.
Siry was chief marketing officer at Tesla and got a close view of the battle between these two egos*.
He thinks Musk will be distracted by the lawsuit at a key time for Tesla, since they just secured a big DOE loan, and Eberhard will look incompetent, reinforcing what he was hoping to avoid.
Ultimately, says Siry, it’s unimportant who’s credited as ‘founder’ since neither of them are ‘creator’ of the Roadster’s basic technology:
AC Propulsion developed the idea, and both Eberhard and Musk initially approached the San Dimas, Calif., company to build the car. Tom Gage and Alan Cocconi had built the t zero, which is essentially the prototypical Tesla Roadster with a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds and a range of more than 200 miles using commodity lithium-ion cells.
One way to look at this is the real technology visionaries were the folks at AC Propulsion, but they lacked the entrepreneurial vision to see just how big an idea it could become and the means to achieve it. Both Eberhard and Musk saw the importance — and potential — of what Gage and Cocconi had created. When Eberhard and Musk approached them individually to prod them into taking the next step and produce the vehicle, Gage opted instead to introduce Musk to Eberhard and get back to work creating the eBox, an electrified Scion xB that Gage considered more practical and economical.
Why does all of this matter? As a bit of day to day minutae, it’s entertaining, but trivial. In the grander scheme, if Tesla takes off and revolutionizes the auto industry, like it dreams it will, each member of the team from Eberhard to Gage and Cocconi to Musk deserve their name in the history books.
The fighting between Eberhard and Musk overshadows the guys that really deserve credit.
*(Disclosure: We’ve also run his posts from time to time.)
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