Q: How would you describe the technological and conceptual relationship between the ACP tzero and the Tesla Roadster?
A: In late 2002, Martin Eberhard had come to ACP to buy a tzero. This was during the time we were developing the Li Ion battery for the tzero. In fact he paid us a deposit on a tzero and actually invested some money in ACP, and those funds helped pay for the tzero Li Ion development and prototype. When that car 1) drove from LA to SF to compete in the 2003 Michelin Challenge Bibendum, 2) earned the best score in the Challenge competing against major automakers, and 3) achieved 300 mile range on one leg of the return trip to LA, it validated the Li Ion concept for ACP and increased Martin's determination to own a tzero. When we told him that the tzero was too difficult to build and we would not build any more, he was disappointed but undaunted. He and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla and in short order recruited Ian Wright to join them.
During this phase, ACP loaned the tzero to Tesla for further evaluation and study, and for three months it was subjected to "test drives," in untold number and severity, from Tesla's first office in Menlo Park up the mountain to Skyline Boulevard where both Martin and Ian lived. The tzero was never quite the same after this ordeal, but it had confirmed the viability in the Tesla founders’ minds, of what they were about to undertake.
With their first funding they came to ACP and we negotiated a license agreement under which we transferred our drive system technology to Tesla. Based on this they designed the drive system that went in the first Tesla Roadsters. The performance of that car (and the fees and royalty payments we have received from Tesla) are a source of great satisfaction to ACP.