What does the logo with the Tesla T really stand for?
Image Credits: Aly Song

What does the logo with the Tesla T really stand for?

You might think that the Tesla logo with the sleek T simply stands for the name Tesla, but this is not correct. Of course you may assume that it was chosen because of the name Tesla, too. But as Elon Musk revealed in a Twitter post, it’s actually a symbolic representation of an important component found in an electric motor.

This is what the Tesla T logo stands for

If you look at the cross-section of an electric motor, you can see the rotating rotor and the fixed stator:

Electric Motor DC
Image credits: renesas.com

The whole thing schematically looks something like this and already in 2013 there was speculation in the internet forum Quora.com whether the logo had anything to do with it:

Elektromotor Querschnitt Tesla T Logo
Diagram of a synchronous motor – Image credits: Quora.com


Quite left side, inside is the rotating rotor with wire windings (black/orange), outside is the immovable stator magnet (violet) and between is an air gap. On the diagram shown in the middle you can see it even better.

In fact, the rotor together with a part of the stator looks similar to the Tesla T logo. This comparison from Quora.com shows the old Tesla logo with the shield in the lower right corner. Today, only the symbol in the shape of a T is used and the shield is omitted. However, this use is not completely correct. The schematic shows only a synchronous electric motor and Tesla does not use this type of motor in all vehicles. In older models S and X only an asynchronous motor is used. The asynchronous motor looks like this in the schematic:

Elektromotor Querschnitt Tesla T Logo
Diagram of an asynchronous motor electric motor – image credits: Quora.com


That would somehow not look that great for a logo. But the Twitter post of Elon Musk in January 2017 is clear:

Tesla T Twitter
Image credits: Twitter

How did Tesla get his name?

Many people think that Tesla was founded by Elon Musk. But as you can read in the biography of Elon Musk, (Amazon.com Link) Tesla was founded in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Elon Musk joined the company as a venture capital investor in spring 2004 and became chairman of the supervisory board. Originally founded as “Tesla Motors”, the company name is based on the physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla. From 2017 onwards, the “Motors” was finally omitted from the company name.

Meanwhile Tesla produces different vehicle models and has already announced some more models.