Ford is taking on Tesla with a new group called Edison

Some non-electric Fords.
Some non-electric Fords.
Image: AP Photo/Frank Augstein
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

This one is a little on the nose.

Ford is launching an internal group to develop electric vehicles, Reuters reported today. It’s naming the group “Team Edison,” seemingly in direct response to Elon Musk’s Tesla, which recently surpassed Ford’s market capitalization.

Quick history lesson: Scientist Nikola Tesla was an electrical engineer known for his work on alternating current technology and for building an early electric motor. Edison was an American inventor who may have invented the lightbulb and helped popularize household electricity consumption.

While Edison is a name that many think of when asked to identify a brilliant inventor, it may not be the best one for a company looking to win a war for the future of cars. Edison engaged in a bitter fight with George Westinghouse over which electricity transmission standard would win out at businesses and households across the world. Edison favored direct current, whereas Westinghouse believed alternating current to be the way forward. While both standards are used in varying capacities around the world, AC power is what flows out of our electrical sockets.

Hopefully Team Edison won’t suffer the same fate as its namesake. Especially considering that more than a century ago, Ford and Edison abandoned plans to build an electric car.

Correction: This story originally stated Tesla was from Croatia. While his hometown is located in what is now modern-day Croatia, it was part of the Austrian Empire when Tesla was born in 1856.