CEO Elon Musk 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. The company was named after the Serbian-American electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla by company co-founders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.
The company's Model S was the world's best-selling plug-in electric car in 2015 and 2016. Global sales of the Model S reached 150,000 units in November 2016. In September 2015 the company released its Model X, a crossover SUV. The Model 3 was released in July 2017. Tesla global sales passed 250,000 units in September 2017.
Tesla operates multiple production and assembly plants, notably Gigafactory 1 near Reno, Nevada and its main vehicle manufacturing facility at Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. The Gigafactory primarily produces batteries and battery packs for Tesla vehicles and energy storage products.
In 2016, Tesla topped Consumer Reports Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey at 91%. In February 2017, Consumer Reports named Tesla as the top American car brand and ranked it 8th among global carmakers.