The myth of Tesla's electric car powered by a "cosmic energy power receiver"


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.[1][2]


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."



Other links to check:

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Comments: 4
  • #1

    thx1138v2 (Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:42)

    Tesla believed that radioactive materials would not be radioactive if they could be shielded from the "cosmic rays", which they can't. Nothing can be shielded from neutrinos. That could account for the "cosmic energy power receiver" claim.

    The references all note a "normal" battery but who would have recognized a nuclear battery in 1933? No one. Also note that it was supposed to be able to power a home when not in use as a vehicle. All the references also note an antenna. This is in the days when Tesla was very secretive. That could have been a red herring to disguise the source of power.

    In the 1930's there were no government regulations on the use of radioactive materials. That didn't occur until after nuclear bombs were proven feasible in the 1940's. In teh article "Sending of Messages to Planets Predicted by Dr. Tesla On Birthday", New York Times, July 11, 1937. —Inventor, 81, Talks of Key to Interstellar Transmission and Tube to Produce Radium Copiously and Cheaply it says "Reports of discoveries by which it will be possible to communicate with the planets and to produce radium in unlimited quantity for $1 a pound..."

    Why would radium at $1/Lb be import to Tesla? Consider that radium in 1935 cost roughly £580,000 per gram.

    Also note that work had been started on the atomic bomb and in 1939 it was sufficiently developed for Einstein and Teller to reccomend to Roosevelt the development of a program to produce such a device. This could explain the "disappearance" of the vehicle. Also keep in mind that Tesla had offered the "Death Ray" patent to both Germany and Russia which could account for the confiscation of his papers when he died in 1941.

    Many space probes are powered by nuclear batteries today. The Pioneer probes which were alunched in the 1970's are two such space craft and they are still performing today as they reach interstellar space roughly 40 years later. They are expected to develop enough power to keep the space cradft running for another 10 years or so.

  • #2

    teslaresearch (Sunday, 16 March 2014 03:08)

    Thankyou for your comment. I will investigate about all this information and I will add it in this section. If I find enough information I will create an special section for it. I think that I didn't find so much information about this but I already have some links to comment.

  • #3

    Lawrence Rosier (Tuesday, 21 July 2015 10:10)

    Subject: A Permanent Solution to Energy and Pollution Problems
    This invention was supported by California Governor Ronald Reagan who gave Edwin Gray the Inventor Of the Year Award and Engineering Professors from the California Institute of Technology who actually wrote the patents for the inventor.
    I am an independent researcher (retired engineer) who analyses past overlooked technologies sorting the hoaxes from the possible in search of unexploited breakthrough technologies. After making an assessment of the invention I determined that it was not a hoax.
    About the Invention: Cold Electricity is a unique affordable safe method of powering: Electric Vehicles, Businesses, Residential Homes, Air Planes, Trains, Ships, Desalination Plants and Space Craft. The Power generator generates a new form of electricity using positrons instead of electrons, it can be sized for small and large power requirements. The Power Generator requires no outside source for electricity, generating its own unique electrical power costing nothing to operate! It will eventually eliminate the transmission of power lines, natural gas lines and oil pipe lines and fracking. The inventor Edwin Gray demonstrated the uniqueness and safety of the electricity he was using to run his motor by attaching a light bulb to a circuit and while holding the lighted bulb in his hand dunked it in a bucket of water with no effects. A light bulb plugged into the grid would have exploded and electrocuted the inventor.

    Scientific Background: Maxwell, known as the father of electromagnetic waves, provided the basis for electrical power using electrons (electricity as we know it). He also proposed a second pulsating unidirectional wave as a possibility he thought to be impossible to demonstrate. Edison found that when his DC current was switched on and off a powerful arc of electricity was given off sometimes killing the operator. Tesla, in his 1890 laboratory, experimented with the pulsating unidirectional wave by shutting DC current on and off. He found that by pulsing the DC current at a rate less than 100 microseconds the resulting electrical phenomenon (Now called Cold Electricity) was safe for humans and by pulsing the rate less than 100 nanoseconds the electrical phenomenon produced a brilliant light, as bright as an arc light, lighting up his laboratory (this discovery could be used to light up an entire city at no cost). He found that the energy from his large dynamo could be multiplied by as much as a thousand times. But it was Edwin Gray who in the 1980’s was the inventor of a Cold Electricity power generator and electric motor that made it practical. The inventor independently discovered the same new source of electrical energy as Tesla. Using lead acid batteries and capacitors he was able to separate, “split”, positrons from an electromagnetic field creating this new form of electrical energy. He used positrons along with electrons for electrical power. Gray was able to multiply the power generated by as much as one hundred times without any outside power support. He demonstrated his cold electricity by running two radios, a TV and a lamp to reporters. He also ran his prototype Electrical Vehicle engine using Cold Electricity. The difference between Tesla’s work and Gray’s invention is that Tesla wanted to provide electricity to the world from a single or just a few sources by broadcasting electrical pulsating unidirectional waves. Gray’s invention allows the end user to generate its own electric power.

    Violation of Standard Electrical Laws: Tesla did not agree with the work of Helmholtz, Hertz, and Maxwell! The "First Law of Thermodynamics", which states that "Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it is neither created nor destroyed” and with Maxwell's equations are the backbone of modern electromagnetic theory. These gentlemen developed the way electrical science is taught today. But Tesla dismissed them all as not being relevant to his experimental findings. Tesla thought that his Alternating Current invention was a failure when compared with his 1890 electrical phenomenon discovery of Radiant Energy. If we follow Tesla’s experiments we must be willing to leave behind the ideas and limitations defined by the "First Law of Thermodynamics" and Maxwell's equations. See Chapter 1 of Secrets of Cold War Technology: Project HAARP and Beyond, by Gerry Vassilatos; Publisher, Adventures Unlimited Press. See also and

    Lawrence Rosier (retired Engineer)12143 Cedar Grove Rd. Rolla, MO 65401 573-578-4716 Email:

  • #4

    Tesla Research (Sunday, 29 November 2015 18:24)

    Thank you Lawrence! I'll try to add such information in some way.