See the second car Tesla made: an orange-striped Roadster with 'Mr. Tesla' plates that may be worth more than $200,000
Tesla cofounder Martin Eberhard owns three Teslas, including a Roadster he drives every day.
Eberhard said he owns the second Tesla Roadster ever made.
The car has a vanity plate with the name "Mr. Tesla."
Tesla's cofounder and its first CEO, Martin Eberhard, who left the carmaker over a decade ago, owns three Teslas, including the second car the company ever made.
"I've been driving my Roadster continuously since I bought it," Eberhard told Insider in an interview.
Eberhard told Insider he owns two Tesla Roadsters and his wife owns a Model S. They are the only electric vehicles he owns and the primary vehicles he and his wife drive. Eberhard said he's collected other cars over the years, including a 1942 military Jeep.
Eberhard said the second-ever Roadster, made in 2008, was painted in custom colors designed to differentiate it as "made for the founder of the company."
Elon Musk, an investor and Tesla board member at the time, got the first Tesla ever made. He also sent another Tesla Roadster into space on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
Eberhard told Insider that he now keeps the car under a cover in his garage and drives another Roadster he bought from a used-car lot six or seven years ago.
"If I sold it, I'd probably make some good money, but I'm not selling it," Eberhard said of his original Roadster. "My son has his eye on inheriting that from me," he joked.
The Tesla cofounder said he occasionally takes the Roadster out for car shows, including the annual Roadster Rally.
Tesla first released the Roadster in 2008. It was built on the chassis of a Lotus Elise — a tiny British sports car that Tesla remade into an electric car with a lithium-ion battery.
The car had a range of just over 240 miles and sold for around $100,000. Tesla produced fewer than 2,500 Roadsters between 2008 and 2012. Today, the cars have become top collectors' items and have sold individually for over $200,000.
Eberhard's Tesla has a custom license plate, "Mr. Tesla" — which he was often referred to in early articles about the company — but in the years since Eberhard's departure, Musk has become synonymous with the brand.
Musk is part of the reason he left the company, Eberhard told Insider. He said that Musk used to call him up when he was CEO of Tesla and "scream" at him after media stories were published about Tesla that did not feature Musk.
"That's when I realized that there was an ego involved here that I hadn't recognized before," Eberhard said.
Musk has denied similar reports of yelling at workers and rage-firing staff, calling them "false" on Twitter and saying that he gives "clear and frank" feedback to employees.
The Tesla cofounder lost his role as CEO of Tesla in 2007, about three years after Elon Musk began investing in the electric-car maker. Eberhard previously told Insider that Musk and Tesla's board had met behind his back and voted to replace him as CEO. Eberhard transitioned to the role of president of technology at Tesla, but he told Insider that he was stripped of nearly all his responsibilities outside of troubleshooting and dealing with a handful of peripheral issues.
He left the company within the year, and since then, his involvement in Tesla's early history has become a point of contention between Eberhard and Musk.
At the time Eberhard left, Musk said Eberhard's departure was related to delays in the Tesla Roadster's production, as well as other operational issues.
"It was not a question of personality differences, as the decision to have Martin transition to an advisory role was unanimous among the board," Musk said at the time. "Tesla has operational problems that need to be solved and if the board thought there was any way that Martin could be part of the solution, then he would still be an employee of the company."
Musk didn't respond to multiple requests for comment on this story. Insider's emails to Tesla's press line were not returned.
Eberhard sued Musk in 2009 over his statements, which he called defamatory. The lawsuit was settled within the same year. Since then, Musk has called the cofounder the "worst person" he's ever worked with. The billionaire slammed Eberhard last year, saying he "could have risked his money [on Tesla], but was unwilling to do so." Eberhard called Musk's comment untrue in an email to Insider at the time.
Read the full Insider interview with Martin Eberhard.
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