Tesla was founded in July 2003, by engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, under the name Tesla Motors. The company's name was derived from physicist Nikola Tesla. In early Series A funding, Tesla Motors was joined by Elon Musk, J. B. Straubel and Ian Wright, all of whom are retrospectively allowed to call themselves co-founders of the company. Musk, who formerly served as chairman and is the current chief executive officer, said that he envisioned Tesla Motors as a technology company and independent automaker, aimed at eventually offering electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer. Tesla Motors shortened its name to Tesla in February 2017. Year over year U. S. sales from 2017 to 2018, Tesla vehicle sales increased by 280% from 48,000 to 182,400.