Though Elon Musk is known as the founder of Tesla, Martin Eberhard is one of the original co-founders along with Marc Tarpenning. In the early days, he served as the CEO before Musk took over the role. Martin Eberhard is an inventor, engineer, and entrepreneur with a net worth of $500 million. This pales in comparison to Elon’s fortune of $206 billion!
Net Worth and Earnings
Eberhard is no longer involved with Tesla. However, he confirmed that he still owns shares in the automotive company. He stated that he isn’t a billionaire but the engineer refuses to reveal how much his stake is worth.
Even without Tesla, the inventor still has a notable resume. He has founded a number of successful companies and made millions in the process. Martin Eberhard also makes money as a speaker and charges $50,000 to $100,000 for live events.
Martin Forest Eberhard was born on May 15, 1960. Raised in Kensington, California, he developed a passion for inventing and bringing his ideas to life. In 1982, he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Two years later, he got a master’s degree in electrical engineering and was hired by Wyse Technology as an electrical engineer. At his first job, he created his first official product, a computer terminal he named WY-30 ASCII.
In 1987, Martin created his first business venture through co-founding Network Computing Devices. After nine years, he partnered with Marc Tarpenning to launch the NuvoMedia ebook company.
Tarpenning and Eberhard became close associates. They shared the same concerns about fossil fuels and global warming. This led the two to become the original founders of Tesla Motors, which aimed to produce electric cars.
As the biggest investor in the startup, Elon Musk joined the business duo. Early employees Ian Wright and JB Straubel were also given the title of co-founders. Martin Eberhard served as chairman and CEO.
Martin’s relationship with Elon was a bit rocky. Musk put a lot of money into Tesla, but wasn’t confident with the abilities of Eberhard. Understandably, he was concerned about the firm’s future. So, he reportedly forced the CEO out and took his place.
This led to Martin suing Elon for slander and libel in 2009. However, he dropped the case later that year for undisclosed reasons. After that, he started working with another automotive firm, Volkswagen.
In 2016, he created inEVit, a power storage provider for considerable equipment manufacturers. It was purchased by Seres in 2017, and Eberhard left the company after a year. In 2019, he launched Tiveni, to make intelligent EV battery systems.
Eberhard is currently retired after leaving Tiveni in December 2021. He prefers to keep a low profile but it is known that Martin is married to Carolyn Eberhard. It is reported that they have known each other since their college days.