14 Things You Didn't Know About Tesla Motors

You may already know that the Tesla Roadster was essentially an electric Lotus Elise. But did you know that the idea to name the company after electro-genius Nikola Tesla came during a date at Disneyland? Or that the guy in charge of the Model S chassis previously did the suspension on the last-generation Ford GT?

And there's plenty more where that came from. Here are 14 things you probably didn't know about Tesla.

1. There was a heated debate over who founded the company.

To put it mildly, there was some ugliness when Martin Eberhard—who was instrumental in forming Tesla—made his exit from the company. Officially, Elon Musk is now one of five co-founders, up from the original two.

2. Eberhard came up with the name Tesla while on a date at Disneyland.

He was with his now wife, at a restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean

3.You can’t turn off the Model S.

You can put it in park, at which point it will go to sleep. Think of it like closing a laptop.

4. The Model S has armored plating.

Sort of. A titanium plate under the car protects the batteries in the event of a high speed collision with a rock. For an actual armored Tesla, go here.

5. And it's equipped with a self-adjusting suspension that remembers rough roads.

While the driver can tell the car to raise up by almost 1.3 inches for certain roads, the Model S remembers where you’ve done this before and automatically lifts itself up for the roughest patches.

6. The bulk of the car was developed by engineering all-stars.

For example, the director of chassis engineering was responsible for the last Ford GT’s suspension, while the main test driver-slash-dynamicist spent a couple decades over at Lotus.

7. The Model S’s center of gravity is roughly the same as the last-generation Ford GT.

It kind of makes sense, because the heavy batteries are placed so low in the car. Of course, one's a timeless supercar, the other's a sedan.

8. The motor spins at 16,000 rpm.

Granted, it’s not an internal combustion engine, but still, that’s basically Formula One levels of rotation.

9. And the transmission has just one gear.

In other words, the car needs every single one of those revolutions to hit its top speed.

10. The drag coefficient of the Model S is 0.24. That’s good.

Really good. As in, up-there-with-what-the-best-carmakers-in-the-world-are-doing levels of good.

11. People get way into the Tesla personalized license plate thing.

There’s even a cheat sheet with literally hundreds of ideas like "LOL GAS."

12. There’s a Tesla Hall of Fame. Kind of.

If you’re the first person to report a security vulnerability, they’ll add you to the “Tesla Security Researcher Hall of Fame.” So far, there are 20 members.

13. Tesla Motors’ market capitalization is seriously high.

The total market value of Tesla’s shares is over $24 billion, or nearly half of GM. It’s still a much, much smaller company, though.

14. Officially, Tesla Motors' game plan isn't producing cars.

Instead, it’s here to “accelerate the advent of sustainable transport.” Basically, it was founded to kick open doors, not turn crazy high profits. 

P.S. It also looks killer with a bike on top. (Though that probably kills that 0.24 drag coefficient.)

Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor, and can be found on Twitter. He's intrigued by the ramifications of instant torque modulation.