Eberhard in 2006
May 15, 1960 |
|Alma mater||University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign|
Martin Eberhard (born May 15, 1960) is an American engineer and business executive. He co-founded Tesla, Inc. (then Tesla Motors) with Marc Tarpenning in 2003, serving as CEO until 2007. Eberhard was ranked among the top 24 innovators of 2007 by Fortune Magazine. Also in 2007, Business 2.0 Magazine ranked Eberhard number 32 of the 50 people "who matter now".
Eberhard was born in Berkeley, California on May 15, 1960. He grew up in Kensington, California, attending Kensington Hilltop Elementary School there. He attended junior high school and high school in adjacent El Cerrito until the middle of 11th grade, when his family moved to Elmhurst, Illinois. He graduated from York Community High School in 1978.
Eberhard received his undergraduate degree in computer engineering in 1982, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He subsequently earned his Masters Degree in electrical engineering in 1983 from the same school.
Eberhard began his career as an electrical engineer at Wyse Technology, where he designed the WY-30 ASCII computer terminal as his first product. Later, Eberhard co-founded and founded start-up companies Network Computing Devices, Inc. (making X Window-based network terminals) and NuvoMedia that created one of the first e-book readers, the Rocket eBook.
Eberhard's interest in sports cars, dependence on oil imported, and global warming led him to found Silicon Valley's first automobile company. In 2003 Eberhard co-founded (with Marc Tarpenning) and became the first CEO of Tesla Motors, an electric car company in San Carlos, California. Eberhard drives the second of Tesla Motors Founder's Series Roadsters cars, which is the first series of the Tesla Roadster (2008). The Tesla Roadster is a battery electric sportscar with 244 miles (393 km) (EPA) range.
On November 30, 2007 Tesla released a press release titled "Martin Eberhard, Co-founder of Tesla Motors, to Transition to Advisory Board." According to the Tesla Motors Club forum and CNN Money, Martin was asked to leave, but the reason for being asked is not publicly available.
On January 7, 2008, the New York Times reported that Tesla Motors issued a statement explaining that the co-founder and former chief executive, Martin Eberhard, “has transitioned from the board of directors and executive management of the company to the advisory board.” On January 7, 2008, Eberhard confirmed that he was no longer employed in Tesla Motors and was only a shareholder in the company. He said he planned to start another company entirely in the green tech field. Eberhard maintained a blog at teslafounders.com that had his version of Tesla's history while he had a lawsuit against Elon Musk for libel until he dropped his lawsuit in August 2009; the blog was deleted afterwards and it is assumed there was a settlement between the parties.
In 2010, Martin Eberhard confirmed to Autoblog Green that he was doing work with Volkswagen, but no further details have been provided.
In January 2016 Eberhard joined Sokon Industry Group, a maker of Electric Vehicles within China, to help transform their American branch into a domestic EV manufacturer. This branch was renamed SF Motors. 
SF Motors was founded in Silicon Valley in January 2016 as a U.S.-based technology and mobility company focused on delivering innovative, connected next-generation electric vehicles. In early 2017, SF Motors’ parent company, Sokon Industry Group, was granted production permits from the Chinese government to produce electric vehicles. 
The company has established seven R&D facilities across four countries, including the U.S., China and Germany, with Japan coming online soon. Along with establishing an R&D center in the Ann Arbor area in Michigan; SF Motors is also partnering with the University of Michigan’s Mcity innovation center, which is dedicated to leading the transformation to connected and automated vehicles.  SF Motors hosted its first University of Michigan-Sokon Autonomous Driving Seminar in August 2017. All of SF Motors' R&D facilities will focus on intelligent e-powertrain technology, vehicle engineering, intelligent driving systems, next-generation battery technology and lightweight designs.
SF Motors also recently complete the acquisition of the AM General Commercial Assembly Plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, making it the only electric vehicle company to have manufacturing facilities in both the U.S. and China. It will be the first manufacturing plant in the U.S. that is wholly owned by SF Motors. The acquisition includes retaining about 430 employees at the facility who previously helped build vehicles for both Mercedes-Benz and Hummer.
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