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Tesla’s Elon Musk Goes Broke

Billions gone, Internet entrepreneur keeps going.

by on Jun.02, 2010

Brother, can you spare a billion? Tesla CEO Elon Musk shows off a prototype Model S at the Detroit Auto Show, last January.

Apparently, $1.5 billion doesn’t go quite as far as it used to – or so Elon Musk, the Internet entrepreneur and electric vehicle visionary, has discovered.

The South African-born Musk made $1.5 billion, a few years back, selling his share of the online Paypal service, then pumped a sizable portion of his fortune into Tesla Motors, the California-based electric vehicle maker, as well as SpaceX, a private rocketry firm.  But as Musk acknowledged in an interview with, last year, the auto business is far more expensive than it initially might seem.

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And that is leaving him dependent upon the kindness of strangers, now that his fortune has largely run out, borrowing money from family and friends, according to various reports out of Silicon Valley.

Musk confirmed his financial problems in a court filing in which he stated, “About four months ago, I ran out of cash.”


Tesla and Toyota to Partner on Battery Cars

Silicon Valley start-up to take over old NUMMI plant.

by on May.21, 2010

Tesla is taking over Toyota's old NUMMI plant to produce the Model S sedan.

Already partnering with German giant Daimler AG, the aggressive little California battery car maker, Tesla Motors, has just jumped into bed with another major automaker.  This time, it will partner with Toyota and take over the plant the Japanese company was abandoning in the suburbs of San Francisco.

Toyota plans to invest $50 million in Tesla, which was founded by the Internet billionaire Elon Musk.  The State of California, meanwhile, will provide tax abatements worth another $20 million to help support Tesla’s takeover of the old NUMMI assembly line – which Toyota originally operated in partnership with General Motors.

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The facility will be used to produce Tesla’s second product line.  With production of the original Roadster winding down, the Silicon Valley start-up is getting ready to launch a sedan it has dubbed the Model S, starting sometime in 2012.

“I sensed the great potential of Tesla’s technology and was impressed by its dedication to monozukuri (Toyota’s approach to manufacturing),” said TMC President Akio Toyoda, explaining the decision to partner with the small battery car maker.  “Toyota was also born as a venture business,” he added, suggesting that, “By partnering with Tesla, my hope is that all Toyota employees will recall that ‘venture business spirit,’ and take on the challenges of the future.”