The Tesla electric car anecdote refers to a supposed Tesla invention described by a Peter Savo (who claimed to be a nephew of Tesla), to one Derek Ahers on September 16, 1967. Savo said that Tesla took him to Buffalo, New York in 1931 and showed him a modified Pierce-Arrow automobile.
Tesla, according to the story, had the stock gasoline engine removed and replaced with a brushless AC electric motor. The motor was said to have been run by a "cosmic energy power receiver" consisting of a box measuring about 25 inches long by 10 inches wide by 6 inches high, containing 12 radio vacuum tubes and connected to a 6-foot-long (1.8 m) antenna. The car was said to have been driven for about 50 miles at speeds of up to 90 mph during an 8-day period.
This story has received some debate for the fact that the car's propulsion system is said to have been invented by Tesla. No physical evidence has ever been produced confirming that the car actually existed. In light of the fact that Tesla did not have a nephew by the name of Peter Savo, the Tesla electric car story is considered to be a fabrication.
A number of web pages exist that serve to perpetuate the tale. Every account of this purported demonstration automobile is based upon the 1967 story plus literary embellishment.
The following list is a selection of quotes which could be related to the myth of Tesla's electric car powered by cosmic energy (or radiant energy) power reciever (comming soon):
Tesla Cosmic Ray Motor May Transmit Power 'Round Earth - Brooklyn Eagle - July 10, 1932, John J. A. O'Neill:
"The attractive features of the Cosmic rays is their constancy. They shower down on us throughout the whole 24 hours, and if a plant is developed to use their power it will not require devices for storing energy as would be necessary with devices using wind, tide or sunlight."
"All of my investigations seem to point to the conclusion that they are small particles, each carrying so small a charge that we are justified in calling them neutrons. They move with great velocity, exceeding that of light.
"More than 25 years ago I began my efforts to harness the cosmic rays and I can now state that I have succeeded in operating a motive device by means of them."
"I will tell you in the most general way," he said. "The cosmic ray ionizes the air, setting free many charges—ions and electrons. These charges are captured in a condenser which is made to discharge through the circuit of the motor."
"I have hopes of building my motor on a large scale, but circumstances have not been favorable to carrying out my plan."