Tesla, Inc. (formerly named Tesla Motors) is an American automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California. Founded in 2003, the company specializes in electric cars, lithium-ion battery energy storage, and, through their SolarCity subsidiary, residential solar panels.
Tesla first gained widespread attention following production of the Roadster, the first mass-produced electric sports car, in February 2008. The company's second vehicle, the Model S, an electric luxury sedan, debuted in June 2012 and is built at the Tesla Factory in California. The Model S has been the world's best-selling plug-in electric car for two years in a row, 2015 and 2016. Its global sales achieved the 150,000 unit milestone in November 2016, four years and five months after its introduction. As of December 2016, the Model S ranks as the world's all-time second best-selling plug-in after the Nissan Leaf. The Model S was then followed in September 2015 by the Model X, a crossover SUV. Tesla's fourth vehicle that is designed for the mass-market is the Model 3, which was unveiled in March 2016 and its production started in July 2017 with a base price of US$35,000, before any government incentives.
Tesla global sales passed the 200,000 unit milestone in March 2017, making the carmaker the second largest global pure electric car manufacturer after the Renault–Nissan Alliance. For two years running, 2015 and 2016, Tesla ranked as the world's second best selling manufacturer of plug-in electric cars after BYD Auto. Musk, the CEO, has said that he envisions Tesla as a technology company and independent automaker, aimed at eventually offering electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer.