Tesla Logo Meaning: Cat Nose or Motor Cross Section?


Tesla has become one of the most popular automotive names in recent times, thanks to its impressive portfolio of electric cars which are nothing less than consumer electronics gadgets (think ‘over the air’ updates). However, there is more to the Tesla logo meaning as we will see in this article. Read on. The automaker’s name is taken from noted Serbian-American engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla and it is assumed that the logo is a stylized T which stands for the scientist and the company’s name.

Tesla Logo PNG

Tesla Inc Information

Founded 1 July 2003
Founder Martin Eberhard
Marc Tarpenning
Elon Musk
J. B. Straubel
Ian Wright
Headquarters Palo Alto, California, US
Official website www.tesla.com
Tesla Logo Designer RO Studio

Tesla Logo History: Is Elon Musk a founding member?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the face of the company and it is difficult to imagine the automaker without him. However, it was exactly the case when Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning established the company in 2003 as Tesla Motors. Musk led the early round of funding in 2004 and also invested in the subsequent rounds. It was only in 2008 that Musk joined the company as a board member and later became the CEO but not before an acrimonious power struggle between Musk and Eberhard.

Eberhard had also filed a lawsuit and insisted Musk wasn’t a founder of Tesla. An out-of-court settlement in September 2009 acknowledged Musk, Straubel, and Wright as founders.

Tesla Emblem on hood

Tesla Logo Meaning:  Is it Cat Nose?

Soon after Musk invested in the company, he commissioned RO Studio to design a logo for Tesla Motors. RO Studio is the same company which had done logo work for Musk’s SpaceX.

Since electric motors are integral to electric cars, RO Studio came up with a solution similar to what it had done for SpaceX. The design studio took a cross-sectional view of a pole of the electric motor to come up with a simple yet effective design element that looked like T and stylized it further. This version was also corroborated by Musk in a Twitter post.

Needless to say, the symbol went very well with the overall scheme and communicated the company’s deep allegiance to electric mobility. The logo also includes a curved section on top of the stylized T which represents the air gap between the motor’s rotor and stator.

Tesla Logo Meaning

­Initially, the stylized T and Tesla lettering were kept in a shield, similar to the emblems of Ferrari and Lamborghini. All Roadsters featured the shielded version but the shield was subsequently dropped in favor of a much simplified version.

Tesla Shield Logo

While the meaning of the Tesla logo may not be apparent at first sight, it is impossible for anyone to forget the reference once known. The design of the Tesla logo uses red as a brand color for communication purposes, although it turns to silver when used on vehicles. With the shield gone, the overall design of the logo looks quite sharp and focused on technology, safety, and simplicity.

Tesla Emblem on Vehicle


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