While scanning the Sirius/XM channel lineup on a recent commute, I came across a song by Tesla. Eighties metal is decidedly not my thing—the Grateful Dead is my cup of tea—but I stayed on the channel for a bit, not digging the music but pondering Teslas: Nikola Tesla the scientist/inventor, Tesla Motors the electric-car company, and Tesla the band.
These days, the automaker enjoys the most Tesla cachet—the Model S was just named Top Pick overall in the Consumer Reports 2014 Autos Spotlight—not to mention market cap. (Tesla Motors is in the news a lot. Musk was profiled on the March 30, 2014, edition of CBS' 60 Minutes. Days earlier, Tesla announced that it is adding a titanium underbody shield and aluminum deflector plates to the Model S to prevent damage that could lead to fire. Read "Tesla Model S Receives Titanium Under Armor to Prevent Fires" for more details.)
But before Elon Musk and Tesla Motors came along, Tesla the scientist and Tesla the band had their moments in the spotlight.
This Tesla trio has one main thing in common: electricity. The tech wizard radically altered the world of electricity, the band relies on electricity for its amps and stage/light show, and the Model S runs on leading-edge batteries. (The earlier Tesla Roadster used an AC motor descended from Nikola’s original design. If you're into electric cars, download this PDF of our October 1975 test of the CitiCar SV-48 and the Elcar 2000.)
So in honor of the Three Teslas—and with a nod to the Compare and Contrast items in The New York Times Magazine—here’s our tale of the Teslas. Download the file, and share it via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and/or Tumblr.
—Steven H. Saltzman