Tesla Motors co-founder Martin Eberhard has been ousted from the company.
After being replaced as chief executive officer and named president of technology in August as the delivery of the first Tesla – a nearly $100,000, two-seat electric roadster – continued to be delayed – Eberhard has now left the San Carlos company.
A five-sentence email from the company Friday said Eberhard had “transitioned” to the company’s advisory board.
But, on one of several postings by Eberhard on the www.teslamotorsclub.com Web site, he said, “I am no longer with Tesla Motors – neither on its board of directors nor an employee of any sort.” Additional comments included: “I’m not at all happy with the way I was treated” and “Silicon Valley has given us many examples of fast-growing startup companies that managed to find a home for its founders even as new management teams were brought in.”
Eberhard couldn’t be reached for comment today. He described himself as “a free man” in his posting and said he would spend the next six months considering his next venture.
Early last week, Tesla name Ze’ev Drori, a Silicon Valley semiconductor veteran, as its new CEO.
“I’m sorry that it came to this and wish it were not so,” Tesla Chairman Elon Musk said about Eberhard’s departure in an email to the Mercury News. “It was not a question of personality differences, as the decision to have Martin transition to an advisory role was unanimous among the board. Tesla has operational problems that need to be solved and if the board thought there was any way that Martin could be part of the solution, then he would still be an employee of the company.”
Original plans called for the Tesla Roadster to be delivered early in 2006. That shifted to late this year, and now the company says the first 50 Roadsters will be built and delivered to customers before March.
In a telephone interview announcing the Drori hiring, Musk said that problems remain with the durability of the car’s complex transmission, but that the first cars remain on schedule.
In comments posted with Eberhard’s last blog item on the Tesla Motors Web site, several readers lamented his departure. One wrote: “You will always be the face and conscience of Tesla Motors.”