That One Time That Google Almost Owned Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors is an undeniably remarkable company. To set up camp on the home turf of America’s Big Three, challenging consumers to ditch the tried-and-true automotive fuel of the past century in favor of electrons stored inside so many laptop batteries, requires no small amount of gall.

Granted, Tesla Motors isn’t out of the woods entirely when it comes to financial jeopardy, but both the automaker’s share prices, and its advance toward a healthily profitable future, are on comparatively stable footing.

Compared, that is, to late 2012/early 2013, when Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk reportedly considered selling the company outright to tech giant Google.

Bloomberg posted a fascinating, astonishing article elaborating on this little-known chapter of Tesla Motors’ past, reporting that shortly after the launch of the Tesla Model S, the carmaker’s future prospects seemed dismally grim. The Model S was developed and built rather on the cheap, says Bloomberg, and top-tier parts suppliers didn’t take Tesla Motors seriously enough to enter into any business deals.

As a result, early examples of the Tesla Model S had a range of bugs and shortcomings, equipment deficiencies which just wouldn’t fly in the luxury segment, and no shortage of bad word-of-mouth from early adopters of the strange new electric sedan. As a result, Tesla Motors had a very difficult time turning preorders into sales, and CEO Elon Musk even quietly pulled the plug on production for a time.

Out of desperation, Musk turned to friend/Google co-founder Larry Page, and brokered a deal for Google to purchase the troubled Tesla Motors, keeping Musk in-charge. Needless to say, that deal never occurred.

So how is it that, without any aid from Google, Tesla Motors managed to fight its way to a Q1 profit in 2013? Visit Bloomberg to get the whole story.

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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