A museum honoring the inventor Nikola Tesla could be fully funded by the CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk.
Musk seemingly committed to spending $8 million on the museum in response to a request from Matthew Inman, creator of the popular Web comic The Oatmeal. Inman had published a comic on Tuesday praising the Tesla Model S, and asking Musk to fully fund a museum at the site of Nikola Tesla's former laboratory in upstate new york.
"I would be happy to help," Musk wrote on Twitter in a reply to Inman.
Inman had previously spearheaded an effort to save Tesla's old laboratory, after plans emerged to tear it down and turn it into a retail establishment. But while the $1.37 million Inman helped raise through crowdfunding was enough to stave off a teardown of the old site, it wasn't enough to build an actual museum. Inman estimates that $8 million is the bare minimum necessary to demolish or restore old factories, restore Tesla's laboratory, and put the museum together.
So rather than launch another crowdfunding drive ("We've already played that card," Inman wrote), he instead appealed directly to Musk through a comic at The Oatmeal.
The comic starts off innocently enough, heaping praise on every aspect of the Tesla Model S, from its mileage on a charge to its stellar safety ratings to its full touch screen infotainment system. Inman, who owns a Model S, wrote that he's "a fan" who loves his "Electric Cruisebeast of Protons and Wormholes."
But it turns out the first half of the comic was just a spoonful of sugar to help Musk swallow the second half, which points out that Tesla Motors is using the Tesla name despite having no ties to the late inventor. Although Tesla's name is public domain, and his copyrights expired long ago, Inman said the usage by Tesla Motors was a "slightly arresting" notion. "It would be like naming a company 'Steve Jobs Hoverbikes' 50 years from now, regardless of any ties to Apple or Jobs himself," Inman wrote.
Inman then pointed out that Musk has billions of dollars in his name, and recently spent $1 million on a submarine car from an old James Bond film, but only contributed $2,500 to the initial museum effort. "I'm asking you to donate again, but this time donate the full $8 million," Inman wrote.
It now seems that Musk is willing to oblige.
If the project comes to fruition, it will be the only museum honoring Tesla in the United States. The only other museum specifically focused on the famed inventor is located in Serbia.