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Nikola Tesla’s Mysterious Electric Car Had No Batteries (And Probably Didn’t Exist)

The modern Tesla is known for making modern electric cars, but the truth is the original Nikola Tesla made an electric car — and he did it all without batteries, way back in 1931. Since it was the man’s 156th birthday earlier this month, and since that man essentially created the modern world as we know it, we kind of owe it to him to look at his car.

The only problem is that most accounts of the car seem to come from the sort of websites that think perpetual motion machines are a great idea being kept down by a coterie of energy companies and space reptile Jews.

Our investigation seems to suggest that the car credited to Tesla probably didn’t actually exist. But the exciting thing is they likely could have, using technology Tesla was experimenting with.
The most commonly reported Tesla electric car was a converted Pierce-Arrow, from 1931. A version of the account of Tesla’s car is in the book Secrets of Cold War Technology – Project HAARP and Beyond, by Gerry Vassilatos:

Taken into a small garage, Dr. Tesla walked directly to a Pierce Arrow, opened the hood and began making a few adjustments. In place of the engine, there was an AC motor.

This measured a little more than 3 feet long, and a little more than 2 feet in diameter. From it trailed two very thick cables which connected with the dashboard. In addition, there was an ordinary 12 volt storage battery. The motor was rated at 80 horsepower.

Maximum rotor speed was stated to be 30 turns per second. A 6 foot antenna rod was fitted into the rear section of the car.

Dr. Tesla stepped into the passenger side and began making adjustments on a “power receiver” which had been built directly into the dashboard.

The receiver, no larger than a short-wave radio of the day, used 12 special tubes which Dr. Tesla brought with him in a boxlike case.

The device had been prefitted into the dashboard, no larger than a short-wave receiver. Mr. Savo told Mr. Ahler that Dr. Tesla built the receiver in his hotel room, a device 2 feet in length, nearly 1 foot wide, a[nd] 1/2 foot high. These curiously constructed tubes having been properly installed in their sockets, Dr. Tesla pushed in 2 contact rods and informed Peter that power was now available to drive.

Several additional meters read values which Dr. Tesla would not explain. Not [a] sound was heard. Dr. Tesla handed Mr. Savo the ignition key and told him to start the engine, which he promptly did. Yet hearing nothing, the accelerator was applied, and the car instantly moved. Tesla’s nephew drove this vehicle without other fuel for an undetermined long interval.

Mr. Savo drove a distance of 50 miles through the city and out to the surrounding countryside. The car was tested to speeds of 90 mph, with the speedometer rated to 120.

This same basic story comes up on many websites, some more reputable than others, but all have the same format. The person said to be taken for the ride is Peter Salvo, Tesla’s nephew (there’s no evidence he was), and the area is always around Buffalo, NY. The story seems to have been first published in 1934 (New York Daily News, April 2, 1934 titled “Tesla’s Wireless Power Dream Nears Reality”) and has been more widely circulating since about 1967 — here’s an account from 1981.
More jalopnik.com

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