Martin Eberhard and Elon Musk
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Getty

Martin Eberhard’s Net Worth and Why Elon Musk Is Angry at Him

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author

Apr. 11 2022, Published 2:07 p.m. ET

While Tesla and Elon Musk are almost synonymous with each other, not many know that the popular EV company had five co-founders and its first CEO was Martin Eberhard. Musk, whose massive net worth makes him the world’s richest person, is known for being vocal with his views. At times, he gets into controversies like calling Vernon Unsworth a “pedo guy.” He also had to quit as Tesla’s chairman after he falsely claimed that he was taking the company private.

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Martin Eberhard

Co-founder Tesla

Net worth: $500 million (estimated)

Martin Eberhard, who co-founded Tesla, has been at odds with the company's current CEO and the world's richest person Elon Musk. Since he left Tesla in 2007, Ebanhard has taken up several assignments. He also founded a battery company Tiveni.

Birthdate: May 15, 1969

Birthplace: Berkeley, Calif.

Education: MS from the University of Illinois

Musk was recently in the news after he took a significant stake in Twitter to become the company’s largest stockholder. He has also made some negative comments about Eberhard. What’s Eberhard’s net worth and why has Musk lashed out at him?

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Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning were the original Tesla founders.

Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning were the original Tesla founders. However, the company needed funds and that’s where Musk came in with seed capital. In the initial days, Musk was in the backseat and Eberhard and Tarpenning were calling the shots.

elon musk tesla ceo
Source: Getty
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Eberhard and Tarpenning didn't retain much of Tesla's shares and Musk eventually became the largest stockholder of the company. To be fair, Musk’s persona and smart decisions have played a key role in where Tesla has reached today. The company delivered almost 1 million cars in 2021 and is expected to end 2022 with an annual rate above 2 million cars.

Eberhard’s net worth is around $500 million.

According to WeathyPersons, Eberhard has a net worth of around $500 million, which is a tiny fraction of Musk’s over $270 billion net worth. Musk is the richest person ever in absolute terms. Apart from his stake in Tesla, he also derives his net worth from the other companies that he founded, especially SpaceX.

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What did Elon Musk say about Eberhard?

Musk has been critical of Eberhard in the past and said that he's the “worst person” with whom he has worked. He also tweeted that Eberhard’s role at Tesla was “glorified” while the problems associated with him were “whitewashed.”

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Musk took a swipe at Eberhard by saying that none of the Tesla employees left when Eberhard was fired as the CEO in 2007 for “providing false information” to him and the company’s board. Recently, in response to a Twitter thread, Musk called Eberhard “pure poison.” The tweet has since been deleted.

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Musk’s relationship with top Tesla executives has been strained in the past and the company had a very high attrition rate. Also, Musk isn't pleased with Eberhard trying to take credit for building Tesla.

Tesla shares have rebounded.

Tesla’s market cap hit $1 trillion in 2021, which made it the first automaker to achieve that feat. The stock fell amid the broader market sell-off but has since rebounded. Its market cap has again reached $1 trillion even though other pure-play EV companies like Lucid Motors, Rivian, NIO, and Nikola have been struggling.

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Eberhard founded battery company Tiveni.

Eberhard founded Tiveni, a battery company in 2018. The company doesn't seem to have much headway and Eberhard’s LinkedIn profile describes the company as a “still quiet” startup. The profile also says that he quit the company in December 2021 and is now “enjoying life.”


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