Tesla the Man vs. Tesla the Car – by Eric Peters – ericpetersautos.com
One of the great ironies – and abuses – of our time is the use of a brilliant man’s name to hawk everything he didn’t stand for.
The man, of course, was the self-taught genius inventor Nikola Tesla – whose name (both first and last) has been used to market very conventional battery-powered devices (cars and big-rigs) that depend upon the very controllable infrastructure he had devoted himself to eliminating.
Many people associate Tesla – the man – with electricity, which is accurate in a general sense and why the use of his name to hawk electrically-powered devices makes sense, superficially.
But Tesla – the man – wanted to unplug everything.
He wanted to figure out how to transmit electricity wirelessly, anywhere – and for free. Or very close to that.
He may have figured it out, too – which of course would have been extremely dangerous. For Tesla. No one (except perhaps for Scully and Mulder of the X Files) knows whether he succeeded. What is known is that he died alone and poor in 1943 in his New York City apartment, which was subsequently ransacked by FBI agents who – apparently – made off with chests full of his papers, never to be seen again.
Maybe he did – and maybe he didn’t – figure out how to generate and transmit electricity wirelessly. The point is that the idea of it is the antithesis of everything embodied by the recycled yesterday-tech battery-powered devices that have his name (one or the other) on their flanks.
A real Tesla would not need a battery, for instance. This being ancient (and hobbling) technology that predates Tesla (the man). And he’s been dead for almost 80 years.
Batteries, whether lead acid or lithium ion, are merely storage devices – just like gas tanks – only much less efficient. A Tesla’s battery pack can store the electrical energy equivalent of about half a full tank of chemical energy (i.e., gasoline). But because of the physics of non-Teslian electrical transmission, it takes many times longer to convey electrical energy from a power source into the storage device and during the time it takes to do this, the two are tethered together.
Teslian technology – at least, what the man is said to have been working on – would have done away with all of that.
The wait – and the weight.
A true Tesla would be much lighter than a non-electric car because all it would need to propel itself would be an electric motor – and these are smaller and lighter than gas/diesel engines. It would for that reason be able to propel itself handily with an even smaller, lighter motor.
It would also be much cheaper – not needing a massive (and massively expensive) energy storage device.
The Teslas being pushed on us have to carry around battery packs that weigh about ten times as much as one full gas tank (15 gallons times about 6 pounds per gallon equals about 100 pounds or so for the gas and the tank, which is typically made of plastic and so itself weighs very little – and almost nothing, when it is empty).
A Nikola – the truck – must carry around thousands more pounds of deadweight storage device.
Neither goes very far – in part because it saps the power stored in the device to lug around the storage device. It is analogous to dumping a second engine (make that two of them, as the typical modern gas four cylinder engine only weighs about 400 pounds fully dressed) in the back seat of a non-battery-powered car and then only filling up the gas tank to a little more than half full.
See how far it goes.
A real Tesla – or Nikola – would go as far as you like because it would never run out of charge. It would draw the power it needed to make it go as it goes – wirelessly. There would be no waiting, either.
Not even for the less-than-five-minutes it takes to put 15 gallons of gas into the tank of a typical family car.
And it would be free – or nearly so.
Tesla – the man – envisioned harnessing the natural electrical energy produced by the Earth itself and using the Earth, itself, to send that energy wherever it was needed. No more power lines – and no more transmission losses over those lines. No more central utilities, either.
Instead, free or extremely low-cost energy – for everyone. Everywhere.
Maybe it’s a pie-in-the-sky vision. It may not be possible – or at least, not practical – to transmit electricity wirelessly or to harness the Earth’s free electricity. All of that is beside the point. Which is that Tesla’s ideas were epochal. They would have changed everything, if they turned out to be viable.
Instead, we have old, worn-out ideas being re-marketed as new ones, using the names of a man who might have changed everything and may well have done so, if his ideas hadn’t been suppressed on account of being too dangerous – to the very same interests that are now wanting to tether us to a cord.
And keep us plugged in.
Tonight’s musical offering:
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 – Leonard Bernstein
Brilliant article — The FBI strikes again! (Tesla’s apartment ‘ransacked by FBI agents who made off with chests full of his papers, never to be seen again.’)
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