How Did Tesla Company Get Its Name? Origins Explored

You’re scrolling through the sleek designs and cutting-edge tech of Tesla vehicles, and amidst the awe, a question pops up in your head: “Just how did they come up with the Tesla name?” It’s not all electric currents and car charging; sometimes, it’s the curious tidbits that spark our interest.

In this post, we’ll unlock the story behind the name that’s driving the future of transportation.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Tesla Motors is named after inventor Nikola Tesla to honor his revolutionary work in electricity, reflecting the company’s foundation in electric vehicles and sustainable energy.
  • The trademark acquisition from Brad Siewert for $75,000 was a strategic move to align the company’s identity with Tesla’s legacy of innovation.
  • Beyond its name, Tesla Inc. embodies Nikola Tesla’s visions through wireless technology, the AC induction motor, and a commitment to open-source patents.

Who is Tesla Named After?

Have you ever wondered how Tesla Motors got its electrifying name? The company pays homage to the genius inventor and electrical engineer, Nikola Tesla. Tesla’s work in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was nothing short of revolutionary. He’s the mastermind behind the development of the alternating current (AC) electrical system, which powers our homes and businesses today. So when you see a Tesla car zoom by, you’re not just witnessing cutting-edge technology in motion; you’re also seeing a nod to historical brilliance.

Why Did Elon Musk Choose Tesla for His Company?

Elon Musk’s vision for Tesla Motors was to create a future where transportation didn’t rely on fossil fuels. This dream mirrors Nikola Tesla’s passion for harnessing electricity for the greater good. It’s a fitting tribute, given Tesla’s numerous patents and his push for the electrification of the world. By naming the company after Nikola Tesla, Elon Musk signals that Tesla Motors is not just about cars—it’s about continuing a legacy of innovation in electric power. This choice honors Tesla’s pioneering work, which is the backbone of the very technology that Tesla Motors advances with each electric vehicle that rolls off their assembly lines.

One unique nugget that most miss? When Elon Musk stepped into the EV world, he wasn’t just aiming to revolutionize transportation—he was also subtly reminding the world of Nikola Tesla’s overlooked contributions. It’s a savvy move that underlines the fact that Tesla Motors is more than a car company; it represents a vision of progress and sustainable energy.

What’s the Story Behind the Tesla Trademark?

The road to naming Tesla wasn’t exactly a superhighway—it had a few speed bumps. Originally, the name ‘Tesla Motors’ was owned by a man named Brad Siewert. However, as fate would have it, Siewert was willing to part with the trademark.

Musk and the co-founders reached out and struck a deal, reportedly for $75,000. Acquiring the Tesla name was crucial as it resonated fundamentally with the company’s core technology and mission. It was a strategic play that underscored the brand’s dedication to innovation, paying tribute to a man whose life’s work laid the groundwork for the electric revolution that Tesla now champions.

Today, Tesla isn’t just a name—it’s synonymous with the electric vehicle movement and the push towards sustainable energy solutions. It’s a powerful reminder that a name can be much more than a label—it can be a statement of purpose and an homage to one of history’s greatest visionaries.

How Does Tesla’s Name Reflect Its Mission?

Electric Vehicles & Sustainable Energy

The name Tesla reverberates with a promise of revolutionary change, much like its namesake’s inventions shook the world over a century ago. Nikola Tesla’s vision was all about harnessing energy in smarter, more efficient ways. Fast forward to now, and Tesla Inc. mirrors that agenda, weaving it into the very fabric of their mission.

With their fleet of electric vehicles (EVs), Tesla is combating the traditional combustion engine narrative. Cars named after impressive electrifying phenomena like the Model S (S for Sedan) and Model X (X for crossover) don’t just whisper change; they thunder it. Each of their vehicles is a nod to clean, efficient power, much like Tesla’s advancements in alternating current (AC) electricity.

But it’s not just cars. Tesla’s Powerwall, solar panels, and solar roof tiles are transforming how we store and utilize energy in our homes. They’re not just selling products; they’re selling an ecosystem, an ideology wherein sustainability and independence from fossil fuels are not just desirable, but achievable. This sustainability push aligns with the work of Nikola Tesla, who believed in the potential for renewable energy resources.


Moreover, the Tesla name is synonymous with bold innovation. Just as Nikola Tesla never shied away from exploring the unknown, Tesla Inc. is at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution and autonomous driving technology. They’re constantly pushing the envelope, experimenting with ways to enhance battery life, and improve the overall driving experience. They’re not just making cars; they’re redefining transportation.

Safety and Performance

It might not be as flashy as other aspects, but Tesla’s focus on vehicle safety also reflects a deep-rooted desire to improve lives, akin to Nikola Tesla’s hopes with his inventions. With top safety ratings, Tesla shows that sustainable tech is not a compromise on performance or safety.

Did Nikola Tesla Influence the Company Beyond the Name?

Wireless Technology & Connectivity

Nikola Tesla had pioneering ideas about wireless communication and power delivery. Tesla Inc. taps into that very spirit. The company’s vehicles are equipped with a suite of wireless updates and features that keep the cars at the cutting edge of technology — something Nikola Tesla would surely have marveled at.

Autopilot System

The Autopilot system’s advancing capabilities reflect the inventor’s interest in automation and creating work-easing machines. It’s about more than hands-free driving; it’s about a future where cars and tech evolve together, in harmony, quite like how Tesla imagined devices would operate in the service of humanity.

The Tesla Coil & Motor

Here’s something that’s not often highlighted: The company’s signature electric motor is a direct descendant of Nikola Tesla’s AC induction motor invention. And, the spiritual successor to the Tesla coil can be found within the wireless transmission of electric energy — think Tesla’s Supercharger network, where you pull up and charge your car wirelessly!

An Ethos of Open Innovation

In 2014, Elon Musk made an extraordinary move by making Tesla’s patents available to anyone who wanted to use them in good faith. This unprecedented decision reflects Nikola Tesla’s philosophy that ideas should be shared for the greater good, not hoarded. It’s more than corporate strategy; it’s a nod to the inventor’s ethos.

In Summary , Tesla Inc.’s mission and output are steeped in Nikola Tesla’s legacy. From the ambitious pursuit of an integrated sustainable energy solution to opening the door for technology sharing, Tesla the company isn’t just carrying the name — it’s bearing the torch of Tesla the inventor into the 21st century and beyond.

Remember, understanding the depth of the Tesla name helps us see the company as more than a car manufacturer or tech firm. It’s a modern tribute to a genius whose work continues to inspire innovation and reminds us that our boldest moves can lead to our brightest future.

  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!