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Elon Musk is not Mr. Tesla, in case there was any confusion

Elon Musk is not Mr. Tesla, in case there was any confusion

05/22/2015

By Claudia Assis, MarketWatch

Real Mr. Tesla existed -- but was no billionaire

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) recently was dealt a setback in Texas when the state blocked the electric-car maker from selling its cars directly to consumers, but the world got a chuckle or two in the process: A Lone State politician faulted "Mr. Tesla" for that result.

"I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first," State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, a Democrat whose district encompasses parts of Houston, has been quoted as saying (http://arstechnica.com/cars/2015/05/bill-to-allow-tesla-to-sell-cars-in-texas-dies-in-committee/).

There was, of course, a Mr. Tesla -- the famous Serbian-American inventor who died in 1943.

Nikola Tesla was indeed the inspiration for the electric-car maker's name. He lived and died in very different circumstances than Tesla's Chief Executive Elon Musk, however. And Musk joined the company after its name had already been chosen by founders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.

For starters, Tesla the scientist died penniless and alone in a hotel room in Manhattan, obsessed with feeding and befriending pigeons.

Forbes magazine estimates Musk's fortune around $13 billion -- so chances are he will not end up penniless. He also has five children and has been married three times, and Tesla was childless and a bachelor.

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