Going Back To Its Roots

by Gill D on September 06, 2020

Tesla is going back to its roots by expanding into Croatia, the home country of the automaker’s namesake. The company was named in honor of Nikola Tesla who was born in 1856 and died in 1943. He was a Serbian inventor and engineer who made several breakthroughs in the production, transmission, and application of electric power. He invented the first alternating current (AC) motor and developed AC generation and transmission technology, which remains the global standard for power transmission today.

The EV company, Tesla has mentioned over the years that it would expand into Croatia, but the actual move has always been delayed. Then last year, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, started taking the idea more seriously and in September 2019, he took to Twitter to share his thoughts:

“Hoping to open in Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia & most of Eastern Europe early next year. Finally, we will do Nikola Tesla proud by having his cars in his countries of origin!”

Currently, the EV auto manufacturer doesn’t have retail or services in Croatia, but it did install 8 Supercharger stations around the country because there are quite a lot of local Tesla owners. So, despite the lack of support in Croatia, it hasn’t deterred the Croatians from importing Tesla’s electric car. And now, the locals will start seeing a positive change with Tesla’s presence in their country.

The EV company recently posted job listings to employ staff at the sales and service location in Zagreb.


Born in Croatia, Nikola Tesla came from a Serbian Orthodox family. When he was 7 years old, his brother Daniel was killed in a riding accident. The young Nikola was devastated and he started seeing visions, which was the onset of his lifelong mental illness.

Nikola studied math and physics at the Technical University of Graz and philosophy at the University of Prague. While out on a walk during 1882, he came up with the idea for a brushless AC motor, making the first sketches of its rotating electromagnets in the sand of the path.

In 1884, he immigrated to New York in the United States and he was hired as an engineer at Thomas Edison’s Manhattan headquarters. It was here that he met Thomas Edison, who offered the young Tesla $50,000 for an improved design for his DC dynamos. Nikola spent months experimenting and finally came up with a solution. However, Edison did not take the Croatian engineer seriously, and soon after, Nikola quit.

He tried unsuccessfully to start his own Tesla Electric Light Company but then found supporters for his research into the alternating current. Between 1887 and 1888 he was granted over 30 patents for his inventions. He caught the attention of George Westinghouse, the inventor who launched the first AC power system near Boston and was Edison’s major competitor in the “Battle of the Currents.” The relationship between Tesla and Westinghouse soured and then eventually ended with Tesla having to relinquish his royalty rights to his inventions. Although in 1891 Westinghouse and Tesla partnered with General Electric to install AC generators at Niagara Falls, creating the first modern power station.

During the 1890s Mark Twain struck up a friendship with Nikola and often visited him in his lab. In 1894, Tesla photographed Twain in one of the first pictures ever lit by phosphorescent light. It was a productive decade for Tesla who then invented electric oscillators, meters, improved lights, and the high-voltage transformer known as the Tesla coil.

Sadly, Nikola Tesla lived his last few years in a New York hotel, working on new inventions and claimed to communicate with the city’s pigeons. His energy and mental health faded and Tesla died on 7 January 1943.