It’s a new year, a new decade, and a new Tesla. As we zoom into 2020, we can look back over the years and see how not only Tesla the company has evolved but also its website. In 2010, we didn’t have HTML5 yet and flash websites were all the rage. Also, MySpace was just starting to fizzle out. The 2010s are the decade we are finishing, but Tesla’s website history goes back to 2007, so this is where we will begin. (There was even a time in which many thought we were all going to die in 2012 — Mayan Prophecy — but we survived and so did Tesla, luckily.)
— Nick (@nickwhoward) December 22, 2019
Thanks to Nick Howard for coming up with this idea.
When we look at the Wayback Machine (web archives), we can see that in 2007 Tesla was selling only the Roadster. The idea was to change perceptions with an electric vehicle that would go from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds. That’s what the original Roadster did. Seeing this website reminds me of those days when I thought I was a pro when using those old website builder sites. (I used to have a Tripod site for my poetry and thought it was awesome!) This was right around the time the iPhone first came out and we were all still using those Motorola RAZRs.
I had to fight with my Google Chrome extension because it wanted to block the Adobe Flash plugins that were needed to look at the ancient website history. It was a battle that I easily won, and you can see the fruits of my labor below as we dive into Tesla’s website over the years and compare it with today.
Tesla’s Website Through The Years
As Nick Howard points out below, we can see the older Model S and Model X designs on this site. I don’t think I’ve seen the older Model X design before. Its “kitten nose” isn’t as prominent as it is with the newer designs.
— Nick (@nickwhoward) December 22, 2019
In 2007, Michael Marks was the CEO and he’d announced updated range numbers for the Roadster. “Our Vehicle System Engineer takes you behind the scenes of Tesla Roadster performance testing and gives you an idea of the kind of range you can expect in different driving conditions,” he says.
We don’t see a significant change to the Tesla website until 2010, which is the decade we are now finishing as 2019 comes to a close. In this change, we see options for the Model S as well. The website incorporated a light background, which is better than the black one since it enables the site to load easier and quicker.
I think everyone was more concerned with the Mayan prophecy than buying electric vehicles when 2012 rolled around. It’s pretty funny — many thought the world was going to end, an alien invasion was going to occur, or that we would all be living as zombies or something.
One major difference is that it looks like a website that has loaded with a very slow internet connection, which tells me it still had a lot of heavy flash on the website. I refreshed the link a few times on my own home internet and then my neighbor’s just to make sure it wasn’t my internet being slow. I got the same image you see above.
Perhaps the webmaster at the time wasn’t too concerned with the website load time since we were all going to die in 2012? Who knows?
Despite that, Tesla’s website reflects some of its major successes, including the Model S being named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2013.
“For the first time since anyone can remember, this year’s winner was a unanimous choice. Not a single judge had any doubt about the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year.” —Motor Trend.
There’s also information on Tesla Superchargers, the Design Studio, and if you scroll down a bit further, you can see different options around the world for looking at the site.
In 2016, four years after we were supposed to all die, we see a refreshingly modern and beautiful website. Tesla announced that it had Full Self-Driving hardware on all of its cars, and it updated the look of the Model S. Also, there is a link for the Model 3 and Tesla Energy, an indicator it had acquired SolarCity by then.
It’s a beautiful and simple homepage website that draws one’s eyes immediately to the subject: a Beautiful Blue Model S on the highway with the sun setting behind it. This can be seen as a symbol of Tesla leading us from the past use of ICE vehicles into the future of clean technology.
As you can see, a lot has changed with the website’s design since 2007. Tesla has replaced the logo with TESLA written out in its signature typography, 7 product lines are now in the menu, including Energy, and the website is beautifully built with responsive design — which means that the website will automatically adjust to the screen of any smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. In 2007, we didn’t have this. Back then, websites were slow to load on mobile devices and it was much easier and much more common to do things from a computer. Also, the iPad hadn’t been invented back then.
I didn’t document every single year between 2007 and 2019, or this would have been one of those TL;DR posts. But as you can see, Tesla’s website through the years has evolved alongside Tesla. Most importantly, it now features the Model 3, Model Y, Model S, Model X, Cybertruck, new Roadster, and Energy.
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