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How Tesla captured the EV market, in charts

Tesla by the numbers
  • Michael J. Coren
By Michael J. Coren

Climate and emerging industries editor


In 2003, Tesla was a tiny California carmaker using other companies’ parts to build its vehicles. Tesla’s first model, the Roadster, crammed 990 pounds of batteries into a Lotus Elise chassis and cost at least $98,000.

Today, Tesla has factories around the world mass-producing models it can barely keep in stock. It is not only the world’s most valuable electric carmaker, it’s the most valuable carmaker period (and one of the most valuable companies in the US).

It owes its success to a massive expansion in the market for electric vehicles (EVs), as well as smart moves that positioned it to outpace its rivals in the electric vehicle race. Here’s the story of Tesla’s ascent in charts.

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