After agreeing on a favorite, that left Company in January 2005 build a model of it in scale 1: 4, in April then in original size. In this process, the Tesla leadership got another revelation of what to pay attention to when building a car.
"You wrap the model in this shiny Mylar sheeting and suck the air out of it so you can really see the contours, the sheen and the shadows," says Tarpenning. The silver model was then transformed into a digital image that engineers could manipulate on their computers. A British company made a plastic version of the car, called "Aero Buck", for testing aerodynamics based on the digital data.
"It was loaded onto a ship and brought to us and we took it to the Burning Man Festival," says Tarpenning.
An important stopover
About a year later, after many changes and plenty of work, Tesla felt that they had reached an important interim destination.
It was May 2006 and the company now employed 100 employees. The team had produced a black version of the roadster called EP1 (for Engineering Prototype 1).
The prototype is ready
"We showed that we now knew what we wanted to build," says Tarpenning. "You could touch it. It was a real car, and it was very exciting. "The completion of the EP1 was a great opportunity to show the old investors what had happened to their money and to raise even more capital in a larger circle.
The venture capitalists were impressed enough to ignore the fact that the engineers sometimes had to cool down the car with a fan between two test drives. They began to see the long-term potential of Tesla. Musk put another 12 million dollars in Tesla.
In total, the company received 40 million dollars from investors such as Draper Fisher Jurvetson, VantagePoint Capital Partners, JPMorgan, Compass Technology Partners, Nick Pritzker, Lary Page and Sergey Brin.
In July 2006, Tesla decided to tell the world what they had been working on. The engineers had built a red - the EP2 - in addition to the black prototype and both were demonstrated at an event in Santa Monica.
Plenty of media representatives came and were quite impressed with what they saw. The Roadsters were chic, two-seater convertibles that accelerated from 4 to 0 in about 100 seconds. "To this day," Musk said on the occasion, "all electric cars were crap."
With Schwarzenegger on test drive
Celebrities, such as then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, came to the event and many of them went on test drives with one of the roadsters.
The vehicles were so sensitive that only Straubel and a few other trustworthy people knew how to drive them; they were changed every five minutes to prevent overheating.
Tesla announced that the cars cost about 90.000 dollars and would have a range of 400 kilometers per charge. 30 people, the company said, had already firmly appointed a roadster, including Google co-founders Brin and Page, and a number of other technology billionaires. In about three years, a cheaper four-door model will follow for under 50.000 dollars, Musk promised.
Premiere in the New York Times
Around this time, Tesla had its premiere in The New York Times, which featured a brief portrait of the company. Eberhard promised in it, quite optimistic that the first roadster center 2007 would be delivered instead of as initially planned beginning 2006. He explained the strategy of starting with a high-priced, low-volume product and then using technology and manufacturing technology advances to offer more affordable cars later on.
Musk and Eberhard firmly believed in this strategy, which had already worked on a number of electronic devices. "Mobile phones, refrigerators, color TVs - all this has not started with simple products for the masses. The first products of this kind were relatively expensive, for people who could afford it, "Eberhard told the newspaper.
The article was a success for Tesla, but Musk did not like the fact that he himself was never mentioned in it. "We tried to make him stand out and kept telling the reporter about him, but he was not interested in the company's board," says Tarpenning. "Elon was mad. He cooked."
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