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Published on December 12th, 2019 | by Johnna Crider


Tesla’s 10-Year Challenge: 2009 vs. 2019

December 12th, 2019 by  

Usually, when we talk about a 10-year challenge, it is posting selfies of ourselves from 10 years ago and comparing them to current ones to see how we have done in the past 10 years. Did we meet our goals? How have our lives changed in the span of a decade? Well, Kevin Rooke put Tesla to this challenge, and it shows you just how far Tesla has come along in the past 10 years. One thing we can learn from the video that Tesla’s past decade will be a story for economics classes for years to come. It went from being on the verge of bankruptcy in 2008 and 2009 to dominating the global market in electric vehicles.

Kevin takes us back to 2009 and shows us Tesla’s vehicle lineup as well as Tesla’s filing with the SEC when it went public. By the end of 2009, Tesla had sold 937 Roadsters to customers in 18 different countries. Kevin reminds us that this isn’t 937,000 cars, but 937 cars. Tesla’s 10-year challenge shows amazing progress, as it plans to sell over 360,000 cars this year.

“In the average day in 2019, Tesla is selling more cars than its entire history up until the end of 2009.”
—Kevin Rooke.

10-Year Challenge: Roadster

The first Tesla Roadster went from 0–60 in 3.9 seconds. The 2009 Roadster Sport beat that with a score of 3.7 seconds. In 2019, those scores are lower for the Performance Models S, 3, and X, and even the Cybertruck.

  • Model S: 2.3 seconds,
  • Model X: 2.7 seconds,
  • Model 3: 3.2 seconds,
  • Cybertruck: 2.9 seconds.


In 2009 Tesla’s vehicle (Model S) was planned to have a variety of ranges from 160 to 300 miles. In 2019, a premium sedan with only 160 miles of range would be laughed at. But not in 2010.

“To date, incumbent automobile manufacturers have been unable to commercially produce an electric vehicle with a claimed range in excess of 140 miles, and most vehicles introduced by incumbent automobile manufacturers have had effective ranges of 100 miles or less”
— Tesla (2010 S1 Filing)

In 2010, Tesla was aiming to make a premium vehicle with a range option of 300 miles and many thought that was “out there” or impossible. Let’s stop right here for a moment. Back in 2010, Tesla was achieving the “impossible.” Ten years ago, the idea of an electric vehicle with 300 miles of range seemed far-fetched, which just shows you how far Tesla has come in a decade. Kevin points out the obvious: that as we look back at the EV industry over the past 10 years, Tesla has been the one raising the bar and pushing its limits. Tesla has been doing what others thought they could not.

Tesla didn’t get to where it is now overnight — it’s been more than 10 years of innovation, hard work, and not giving up that put Tesla where it is today. Tesla is now the standard when it comes to both performance and range in electric vehicles.


Warning: if you are short Tesla, then you may not want to read further unless you are masochistic. In 2009, Tesla held a reveal event for the Model S similar to that of the Cybertruck and took in $10 million to help financing the car’s development — 2,000 car deposits worth $5,000 each.

Ten million is a great start when developing a product, but it doesn’t compare to the $700 million in customer deposits that Tesla received for the Model 3 in 2016. We had the Cybertruck reveal last month, which — last heard at the time of Kevin’s video — had 250,000 deposits at $100 each. Nonetheless, Kevin points out that we still have Wall Street analysts panicking over the rumor of “no demand.”

10-Year Challenge Conclusion

Tesla’s 10-year challenge shows just how far the Silicon Valley company has come in such a short time, and it’s only going to get better. Kevin’s video gives us a short timelapse of Tesla history, challenges, and successes — in under 8 minutes. Perhaps 10 years from now Elon will have us in flying cars similar to those featured on The Jetsons.


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About the Author

is a Baton Rouge artist, gem and mineral collector, and Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and Tesla. Elon Musk advised her in 2018 to “Believe in Good.” Tesla is one of many good things to believe in. You can find Johnna on Twitter

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