As one might imagine, the Tesla cofounder that Elon Musk ousted back in 2007 has some choice words about what the company has been up to lately.
In an interview with Insider, Tesla cofounder Martin Eberhard sought to set the record straight about the direction the company has taken since Musk pushed him out as CEO.
With a background in electrical engineering and an interest in sports cars, the Tesla cofounder is considered to be the brains behind the "Eureka!" moment that led to the company's inception. Alongside his friend and business partner Marc Tarpenning, Eberhard founded Tesla in 2003. At the time, automation was the furthest thing from his mind.
"So, keep in mind that all this [Full Self-Driving] autonomous, Autopilot crap — none of that existed when I was there," Eberhard told Insider. "We were still busy trying to make the car work and we never thought about that at all."
Both Autopilot and Tesla's Full Self-Driving feature have brought regulatory scrutiny to the automaker.
"I think it's a mistake to think of a car as a software platform — you know, like an iPhone or something. It's not the same," Eberhard said in the interview.
"I have an iPhone, and every time I get a software update there's bugs in there," he added. "These bugs mean, for example, that occasionally my news-feed app crashes. That's not a big deal, because it's just an annoyance on iPhone. But that kind of a bug shows up in the software that controls, for example, my brakes or the steering, it can kill you."
This is far from the first time that the bad Tesla blood between Musk and Eberhard has made headlines. In 2009, just a few years after the ex-CEO's ouster, Eberhard sued Musk for defamation and libel, in part because he was tired of the Canadian-South African serial entrepreneur erroneously referring to himself as the company's "founder," but later dropped the suit.
In this latest interview, Eberhard noted that the focus on automation isn't the only difference between the Tesla of today and the one he cofounded.
"Elon is a different person now than he was then," he told Insider. "He was no more involved than any other board member. He came to board meetings. He did not have an office at the company. He didn't come there regularly. He did not give direction to my employees, anything like that. He was a board member."
All of that started to change, he said, when Tesla started getting attention from the media.
"His behavior changed dramatically as soon as we started having press about Tesla," Eberhard said. "He got mad if anything was ever written about Tesla and it didn't feature his name prominently. And that's when I realized that there was an ego involved here that I hadn't recognized before."
To his end, Musk seems to still be pretty peeved at Eberhard, who he in 2008 referred to as "the worst person [he'd] ever worked with." More recently, the now-Twitter CEO cast some strange aspersions in Eberhard's direction last November regarding their apparent ideological differences, but the cofounder said he's had to learn to shrug them off.
"My guess is because he tried for years to set the narrative that he was the founder and people know that's not true now," Eberhard told Insider. "It's under his skin."
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