Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has donated $1 million and one of his company’s Supercharger electric-car charging points to the Tesla Science Center in Shoreham, New York. The donation will help fund the construction of a new museum on the site of Nikola Tesla’s last laboratory. Musk’s modern-day car company is named for Nikola Tesla, who died in 1943.
Earlier this year, The Oatmeal cartoonist Matt Inman penned a web comic detailing his love for the Tesla Model S electric car, and asked Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk if he could help fund the construction of the Tesla Science Center in Shoreham. The museum would be built on the site of one of Nikola Tesla’s laboratory sites, and Inman reasoned Musk’s affinity for the Tesla name might inspire him to help fund the new museum.
Yesterday, which would have been Nikola Tesla’s 158th birthday, Musk and the Tesla Science Center announced the $1 million donation, as well as the planned installation of a Supercharger electric-car charger.
“We are excited and extremely grateful for Mr. Musk’s generous gift to Tesla Science Center, and also to Matthew Inman for arranging the opportunity,” Tesla Science Center president Jane Alcorn said in a statement.
The story of the Tesla Science Center dates back to 2012, when The Oatmeal cartoonist Matt Inman ran an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to help a non-profit purchase Tesla’s last laboratory site — known as the Wardenclyffe Tower — and turn it into a museum. The group raised $1.37 million and was able to buy the property, but still needed more money to construct the new museum. While Inman estimates completing the new museum will cost $8 million, Musk’s donation is a good start for the effort.
At the Shoreham site, Nikola Tesla began a project in 1901 to transmit energy and information around the world. Among other things, Tesla is known for his research into A/C electricity, radio transmission, and the AC induction motor. Today’s Tesla Model S electric car uses an AC induction motor for motivation, providing an even clearer link between today’s Tesla and inventor Nikola Tesla.