Niagara Gazette

Opinion

March 6, 2014

GLYNN: Tesla's name rebounds with new electric car

Niagara Gazette — It’s rarely if ever mentioned, but a new car rapidly gaining consumer attention is named for a pioneer in the hydroelectric power industry at Niagara Falls.

Nikola Tesla, an engineer and physicist, invented the alternating current in the early 1900s. After decades of living in the shadows of his former boss, Thomas Edison, Tesla has gained recognition with the electric car bearing his name heading to the mass market.

According to a recent report, in 2013 the Tesla Model s outsold its closest luxury rival, Mercedes’ petrol-engined s class by 30 percent in America. Industry analysts say Tesla’s performance to date, however, has not resulted in significant profits. Sales growth was impacted briefly last year by a series of battery fires. Still, Tesla’s shares soared in February to hike the company’s value to more than $30 billion.

Tesla’s basic Model s is listed at $64,000 in the U.S. Actually the car was introduced about a decade ago by Elon Musk, a founder of PayPal. In 2013, the company sold 22,000 cars and by the end of this year, it hopes to be producing 1,000 per week.

For the record, Tesla is hardly forgotten. He’s seated as part of a large monument near the Cave of the Winds on Goat Island. Countless tourists have photographed it, sometimes with the kids crawling up in his lap. Also, last year a new statue of Tesla was unveiled at the inventor’s former Wardenclyffe laboratory on Long Island.

Naming a car for a famous person though may be a risk, based on other failures in the 20th century,

For example, the Edsel, named for Henry Ford’s son, never gained acceptance in the nation’s automotive market. Unveiled in 1958, it halted production in late November 1959 but not before losing $350 million on the investment.

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