In keeping with our electric car theme this week, today’s featured car-related band is Tesla. Yes, we know the band was founded way before Elon Musk named his car company after the great Serbian inventor, Nikola Tesla, but hey, we needed an electric car with a band name and Son Volt seemed like too much of a stretch. So here goes.
Founded in 1981 in Sacramento, California as City Kidd, Frank Hannon and Brian Wheat made a pretty quick impact on the early 80’s glam rock scene. As the years progressed, they gained a few members and moved away from the glam sound. They changed their name in 1986 when recording their first album, after a manager advised them City Kidd wasn’t a great band name; frankly, we agree. They renamed themselves Tesla after Nikola Tesla reportedly because he was the inventor of the radio. They used his achievements as inspiration for song and album titles, song content, and album cover designs. Later, because you can’t be a proper Metal/Hair Band without a power ballad, (see Poison Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Guns ‘n Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine) Tesla recorded “Love Song” in 1989 which quickly rose to number 10 on the Billboard chart, solidifying the band’s place in rock history. They’ve broken up and reunited with new members a number of times over the last 20 years, and fans can still see them today; they’re heading out on tour next month playing both classics and newly released material.
Then there’s Tesla Motors, now officially Tesla, Inc. The automaker also took their inspiration from Nickola Tesla, and it’s easy to see the parallels here. From the beginning in 2003, founder Elon Musk has been looking to leave a lasting impact on the history, not just of the automobile, but also technology. Five years after founding the company, Tesla released the Roadster in 2008. At the time it was a revelation; not only was it the first all-electric car to achieve more than 200 miles per charge, it didn’t look anything like other electric cars at the time. A new Roadster is scheduled for 2019 after they deliver on all those promised Model 3 orders. In 2012 they released the Model S, which has been the top selling all-electric car in the world over the last two years. Last year we finally saw the Model X reach production. More than 30,000 people placed pre-orders for the car, and while there have been some delivery and quality issues, sales have been steadily growing since its release. The Model 3 is the new highly anticipated “affordable” offering priced at around $30,000. Tesla has taken well over 500,000 orders for the Model 3 with $1,000 deposit attached to each thanks to their cult-like brand. Yet another parallel to their namesake. Much like the Tesla the inventor, there’s sort of a mystique around Tesla the automaker. Sure, everyone is pursuing electrification and autonomy, but Tesla seems to be just a step ahead of everyone else even today.