Martin Eberhard’s Net Worth [Did Tesla Make Him A Billionaire?]

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Even if you’re a fan of Tesla, there’s a good chance that you have no idea who Martin Eberhard is. He tends to get overshadowed by Elon Musk (for reasons we’ll discuss later), but that doesn’t mean he’s not an important figure.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at Martin Eberhard’s net worth, how he made his money, and what he’s up to now.

Let’s dive in!

Martin Eberhard

Profession/Career:Entrepreneur / Engineer
Net Worth:$500 million
College:University of Illinois, Stanford University
Major:Electrical Engineering, MBA
Companies:NCI, NuvoMedia, Tesla Motors, InEVit, SF Motors
Date of Birth (Age):May 15, 1960 (63 years old)
Place of Birth: Kensington, California

Frequently Associated With

Who is Martin Eberhard?

Martin Eberhard is an American business executive and entrepreneur. He’s best known for being one of the co-founders of Tesla Motors, which he helped create in 2003 alongside Marc Tarpenning. He was also the original CEO of the company—long before Elon Musk entered the picture.

Martin Eberhard’s Childhood

Martin Eberhard is an American engineer and entrepreneur who co-founded Tesla Motors (now known as Tesla, Inc.) with Marc Tarpenning in 2003. However, information about his childhood is relatively limited.

From what is publicly known, Martin Eberhard was born on May 15, 1960, in Berkeley, California, USA. He grew up in Kensington, California, a small town in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a child, he developed an interest in science and engineering, which eventually led him to pursue a career in technology.

Eberhard attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering in 1982. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1984.

Beyond that, there is little information available about Eberhard’s childhood, as he has not spoken publicly about it much. However, it is clear that his upbringing and education played a significant role in shaping his interests and career path.

Martin Eberhard’s Wife

Eberhard met his wife Carolyn Eberhard while he was in college at the University of Illinois. It is not known when the two actually married.

Carolyn earned her degree in civil engineering at the University of Illinois in 1983.

Martin Eberhard’s Career

Eberhard had always been interested in technology and engineering. He studied electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then went on to earn his MBA from Stanford University.

After graduation, Eberhard worked in multiple tech startups—both as an employee and as a founder—before eventually co-founding Tesla. 

In order, they are:

Wyse Technologies

After graduating from college, Eberhard’s first job was at Wyse Technologies, a computer terminal manufacturer. While at Wyse, Eberhard designed the WY-30 terminal—a device designed to appeal to the entry-level ASCII terminal market.

He worked there for three years, eventually becoming the Vice President of Engineering—a feat which demonstrates how much of an asset he was to the company.

Network Computer Incorporated (NCI)

In 1995, Eberhard left Wyse to co-found Network Computer Incorporated—better known as NCI. The company was created with the goal of designing and manufacturing thin client devices. These devices would eventually come to be known as “network computers” or “NCs.”

NCI was acquired by Oracle Corporation in 1999 for $908 million. After the acquisition, Eberhard stayed on with Oracle for a short time before moving on to his next project.


In 2000, Eberhard co-founded NuvoMedia—a digital media company—with Marc Tarpenning. The company’s primary product was the Rocket eBook—one of the first e-readers on the market.

The Rocket eBook was designed to look and feel like a traditional book. It had a black-and-white screen and required special “e-ink” cartridges.

Eberhard served as the company’s CEO until it was acquired by Gemstar-TV Guide International in 2001 for $187 million.

Tesla Motors

In 2003, Eberhard and Tarpenning co-founded Tesla Motors. The company was created with the goal of manufacturing electric vehicles. Eberhard served as the CEO of Tesla from its inception until 2007, when he was replaced by Ze’ev Drori.

Eberhard’s time as Tesla’s CEO was not without controversy. He was known for being very difficult to work with, and his ego often caused problems within the company. In 2006, he had a highly publicized falling-out with Elon Musk. The two men eventually made up, but Eberhard was still pushed out of the company in 2007. We’ll cover their relationship in a bit more detail later on!

He remained on Tesla’s board of directors until 2009, when he left the company for good.

What is Martin Eberhard Known For?

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re well aware of what Tesla Motors is. This is most well-known of all the companies Eberhard helped to found.

On the off chance you aren’t familiar with Tesla, here’s a quick rundown with a bit more detail than the one we gave above.

Tesla Motors (usually shortened to Tesla) is an American electric vehicle manufacturer. The company designs, manufactures, and sells electric cars and electric vehicle powertrain components.

Tesla’s mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” The company is named after Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, and mechanical engineer who was born in the 19th century.

Tesla is often credited with popularizing electric cars. The company’s first car, the Tesla Roadster, was released in 2008. Since then, Tesla has released several other electric cars, including the Model S, Model X, and Model 3.

In addition to selling cars, Tesla also manufactures batteries, solar panels, and home energy systems. The company also operates a network of Supercharger stations—a network of high-speed chargers that allow Tesla owners to quickly recharge their cars.

Tesla is the world’s most valuable car company. The company is worth an estimated $208 billion.

How Did Martin Eberhard Make Most Of His Money?

Martin Eberhard made his money by co-founding and investing in several technology companies. His most notable investments include Tesla Motors, NuvoMedia, and Network Computer Incorporated (NCI).

Eberhard’s biggest payday came when he sold NCI to Oracle Corporation in 1999 for $908 million. His investment in Tesla Motors also paid off handsomely. Tesla is worth an estimated $208 billion.

What is Martin Eberhard’s Net Worth?

Martin Eberhard’s net worth is estimated to be $500 million. This includes both his past earnings and current investments.

Eberhard’s exact net worth is unknown, as he has never publicly disclosed his financial information. However, we do know that he made at least $151 million from the sale of NCI to the Oracle Corporation in 1999.

His investment in Tesla Motors has also likely made him a very wealthy man. Tesla is worth an estimated $208 billion. If Eberhard owns even a small percentage of the company through shares, his net worth would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In an interview in 2019, it is confirmed that Martin Eberhard still owns Tesla shares, contributing a huge amount to his net worth.

Do Martin Eberhard And Elon Musk Hate Each Other?

Martin Eberhard and Elon Musk have a long and complicated history that involves heated arguments, lawsuits, and eventually, reconciliation.

The Beginning of Eberhard and Musk

Things started off smoothly for the two entrepreneurs when in 2004 Elon Musk became chairman of the board and immediately promoted Eberhard to CEO. Eberhard immediately got to work on the company’s first model—the Tesla Roadster.

Problems Begin to Surface

However, the good times wouldn’t last for long. By 2006, two years later, relations between the two men had deteriorated to the point where Eberhard was pushed out of the company he had co-founded.

Much of this was due to Eberhard’s leadership style, which was reportedly abrasive and difficult to work with. Musk eventually took over as CEO, and Eberhard was relegated to the position of president of technology.

Eberhard claimed that Musk had promised him a role as CEO for life, but later reneged on that agreement. He also accused Musk of taking credit for Tesla’s successes while placing blame on him for its failures. In 2007, Eberhard filed a lawsuit against Musk and Tesla and eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

A Famous Lawsuit

The lawsuit between Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard was filed in 2009, two years after Eberhard was ousted as CEO of Tesla. In the lawsuit, Eberhard accused Musk of defamation and breach of contract, claiming that Musk had taken credit for his work and had publicly undermined his authority.

According to Eberhard, Musk had falsely claimed to be a co-founder of Tesla and had taken credit for many of the company’s early successes. Eberhard also alleged that Musk had interfered with his role as CEO, and that Musk’s actions had contributed to his departure from the company.

Musk denied the allegations and counter-sued Eberhard for defamation, claiming that Eberhard’s statements had damaged his reputation and harmed the company’s prospects.

The lawsuit was settled out of court in 2009, with the terms of the settlement remaining confidential. However, it was reported that Eberhard would remain a shareholder in the company and would be credited as a co-founder of Tesla.

A Happy Ending

In 2009, Eberhard left Tesla Motors for good. However, he and Musk reconciled in 2013 when Musk publicly apologized for his past actions.

“I would like to apologize to Martin,” Musk said. “I did try to help him stay on as CEO, and I even wrote a blog post defending him against some of the more unfair criticisms that were leveled against him.”

Martin Eberhard After Leaving Tesla

After leaving Tesla, Eberhard stated that he was unemployable for the next two years, due to the various non-disclosures he had to sign.

As soon as the two years were over, Eberhard was hired by Volkswagon in 2009, to advise them on the design of the company’s EV cars across their brands.

The contract, however, was not renewed after it was up in 2010, and Eberhard decided to leave to move on to other ventures.

What is Martin Eberhard Up to Now?

Martin Eberhard was most currently the CEO of InEVit—a company that specializes in electric vehicle infrastructure, which he founded in 2015. The company was acquired by SF Motors in 2017, but the company welcomed Eberhard aboard as an advisor due to his extensive EV knowledge.

In his free time, Eberhard enjoys racing cars and motorcycles. He has competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Final Thoughts on Martin Eberhard’s Net Worth

Martin Eberhard is a successful entrepreneur and investor who has amassed a considerable fortune. His net worth is estimated to be $500 million.

Eberhard’s story is an inspiring one. He is a self-made man who has achieved success through hard work and determination. Even though he is no longer involved with Tesla Motors, the company he helped create is now worth billions of dollars.

Eberhard’s net worth proves that it is possible to achieve great things if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard to make it a reality.

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