Tesla and Alsace : a long story

tesla-logoChâteauroux and Alsace would be fighting over the creation of a Tesla factory… Naturally, we think of the brand and its cars… As a company head myself, I can only dream of the company choosing Alsace!

Obviously, all arguments should be considered and conveyed by the networks and their channels to the CEO of the Group, Elon Musk.

Some of the arguments I have read were reasonable, measured and well calculated and I pay tribute to those who have been fighting from the beginning… So yes, the company, whose headquarters are based in Palo Alto, will have to consider all of them… But I figure that Elon Musk, who strongly contributed to digital innovation with, among others, the creation of Paypal, must love arguments which «make sense…»

There is one, however, that I never hear and which «makes serious sense,» and that’s the reference to the very rich History between Tesla and Alsace… My Alsatian readers are used to the connexions I see between History and Alsace. I imagine some of them must be surprised… Here I go again with Tesla…

A reference to History

I’m not talking about Tesla Motors, but about Nikola Tesla, the engineer whom the company is named after.

We are after the 1870 war, around 1883 to be precise. The engineer was sent by Edison to Strasbourg to solve problems linking electricity and direct current lightning of the German railway system…

A History linking to Alsace

… There, he creates his induction engine and works on the idea that alternating current offers its own solutions, going against Edison’s principles and widening the gap that would separate them forever… He develops ties to Strasbourg and writes:

«Among my new friends was the former mayor of the city, Mr. Bauzin, to whom I had already introduced my invention and a few others to an extent, and who I tried to convert to my cause. He appeared honestly devoted to me, and introduced my project to many very wealthy personalities; however, to my great disappointment, he didn’t hear back from anyone. He has tried to help me by any means possible, and as July 1st, 1919 approaches, I remember receiving some kind of „help“ from this charming man, not the financial kind, although it was highly appreciated. In 1870, when the Germans invaded the country, Mr. Bauzin had buried away a large quantity of 1801 Saint-Estèphe wine, and had concluded that he knew no one who was more deserving than me to receive the precious beverage.»

His friend told him to leave for Paris… But Strasbourg was undoubtedly instrumental in Tesla’s decision to go further, and to set up his own company… Among the acknowledgements which have a real impact on a man’s life, we can remember that his name was engraved under one of the windows of the Electricité de Strasbourg’s historical headquarters. Right next to Laplace, Planck, Bohr, Einstein and Rutherford no less…

A man, Tesla, a region with character

Who remembers now that Tesla refused the Nobel Price so he didn’t have to share it with Thomas Edison?

As a forgotten and unknown inventor, today he deserves that we pay tribute to him for his vision of the world… The luminous vision of an disinterested genius…

A man with such character must naturally have appreciated the character of Alsace, this region, go-between of France and Germany, crossroads of a symbolic current, which today deserves to welcome this European Tesla factory. May many people convey this history to the decision makers at Tesla Motors… It creates a real link between Tesla and Alsace, and gives real meaning to the choice of Alsace for them… A reference to History? A never-ending story, actually… Wouldn’t it be pleasant, symbolic and amusing to write the next page of this story today?



Stéphane BOURHIS

About the author:

Stéphane BOURHIS teaches at the Université de Strasbourg where he is dedicated to convey to his students, as well as to the Red-Act customers, the means to be independent, impactful and efficient.

As a Member and Regional Representative for the APCIG (professional association of the reporters and informers of gastronomy and wine), he deeply cares about supporting professionals from the tourism, gastronomy, hospitality and restoration industry in their day-to-day communication.

Founded in 2004, Red-Act agency chose to specialise in print and digital communication, in the conception-writing and production of added-value content. It developed strategies related to brand imaging and social media management.


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