Martin Eberhard told the publication that “he and his longtime friend Marc Tarpenning came up with the idea for Tesla during one of their weekly catch-ups.” But because he had a contract with Tesla, the company owned rights to the work he produced and prohibited him from working at another automotive company for two years.
"After I left Tesla, I was basically unemployable for about two years because of the intellectual-property agreement I had with Tesla and with Tesla being as litigious as they are," Eberhard told Insider. "So, for the first couple of years, I was, first of all, out of money and, second of all, unemployed."
Eberhard was ousted as Tesla CEO about three years after Musk began investing in the company, the report said.
“Eberhard previously told Insider that Musk and Tesla's board had met behind his back and voted to replace him as CEO. Eberhard transitioned to the role of president of technology at Tesla but said he was moved off almost every responsibility, save for troubleshooting and a handful of peripheral issues.
He left the company in 2007. Since then, his involvement in Tesla's early history has become a point of contention between Eberhard and Musk, who said Eberhard's departure was related to delays in the Tesla Roadster's production, as well as other operational issues.
"It was not a question of personality differences, as the decision to have Martin transition to an advisory role was unanimous among the board," Musk said at the time. "Tesla has operational problems that need to be solved and if the board thought there was any way that Martin could be part of the solution, then he would still be an employee of the company."
The Insider report also noted this:
“Eberhard sued Musk in 2009, alleging Musk had defamed him. It was settled within the same year. Since then, Musk has called the cofounder the "worst person" he's ever worked with. Last year, the billionaire slammed Eberhard, saying he "could have risked his money, but was unwilling to do so," referring to a bet on Tesla. At the time, Eberhard called Musk's comment untrue in an email to Insider.”