This week in the Green Column we are talking about Nikola Tesla: a man, an inventor, an engineer, too much often only associated with the brand of electric vehicles.
it is in fact a recent news that the brand’s first supercharger to be taken place in Italy, was inaugurated on Friday in Tuscany, Forte dei Marmi, a very famous location for holiday season. The company signed an agreement with an hotel chain, and therefore installed for its client the unbelievably fast charging station: the drivers will be back on track in only 20 minutes with the full tank… Actually not, with a full battery!
Because that is the very innovative feature of Tesla company: to let 100% electric cars that look good, and do not need to apologise for being a sport car, but most importantly do run for long distances thanks to their performing batteries and motors.
Motors which work under the technology patented by Nikola Tesla, the AC induction motor, to whom the founders of Tesla wanted to pay respect and gratitude. With the name of the brand, of course.
Unluckily, Nikola Tesla could never appreciate his accomplishments. While he was alive he had been discredited a lot by his peers, like for example Thomas Edison. He was born in what is today Croatia, and completed his studies in Europe, developing a stark interest in electromagnetic fields and electrical engineering. He then moved to the US and got employed by Edison, another genius who had also talent for engineering, but also for business. He had the industrial vision of replicating ideas.
But, The two of them did not get along well, in fact they started the so called War of Currents, together with mr. Westinghouse, who happened to be the later employer of Tesla.
It is under Westinghouse support, above all financially speaking, that Tesla gave birth to a lot of his inventions: Tesla had invented a powerful coil that was capable of generating high voltages and frequencies, leading to new forms of light, such as neon and fluorescent, as well as X-rays. The Tesla coils were also able to receive radio signal, paving the way for Marconi’s radio, who used 17 Tesla’s patents to conceive that. After the failure of the Wardenclyffe Tower, partly financed by J.P Morgan to enact the project of wireless transmission, Nikola Tesla retreated, penniless, in a hotel room in New York City, developing a weird affection to pigeons.
Basically celebrating Tesla AC motor is to celebrate energy efficiency: its turmoil with Edison was mainly due to the DC (Direct Current) versus AC (Alternating Current) technology, the latter proved to be much less energy consuming for the purposes demanding inflows and outflows, such as private in-house use and radio signals.
Without his intervention in the scientific world, we would not probably have air conditioning (holy AC, these days) and the refrigerator, for instance. Not to forget the electric car (which is hopefully going to actually change transport), and most of all we would have an inefficient electric power distribution.
Nikola Tesla changed our lives, without speculating on it and living enough to know it. He still is , though, perpetrating his legacy with Tesla Motors!
However, to say it with his words:
“The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.”
— “Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World” in Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)