That Time Elon Musk’s Mum Maye Came on the Nikola Tesla EV Rally in Croatia

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Maye Musk Twitter
Maye Musk Twitter

Maye Musk Twitter

The third LEAP Summit ended on March 17, 2018, three days of great energy and ideas – and some rather surprising revelations about the past. 

The longer I live in this country, the more I realise there are two very different Croatias which are existing side by side. The first is the one which is better known, a land of true beauty and potential, but one drowning in its past, as well as its official need to keep all of the cousins well-fed and employed, whether they do their jobs or not. For there are no consequences. 

The second Croatia is one I have only had fleeting association with until relatively recently, but one which I am finding more and more seductive with each introduction. It is a vibrant Croatia of passion, creativity and vision, a Croatia looking very much in one direction only – the future. For this is the Croatia of the private entrepreneur with a love of the homeland, but not the state. A group of entrepreneurs who are achieving great things in their various fields, not because of the help of government, but in spite of the lack of help from official bodies. A body of truly exceptional individuals with their various visions, who truly give hope for the future of Croatia. 

And because they do their own thing, independent mostly of official bodies, much of what they do goes unreported.  


As I have written before, my favourite event in Croatia is the Nikola Tesla EV Rally, which will take place in June for the fifth year (many thanks for the introduction – you know who you are), one of the finest examples of luxury tourism promotion in Croatia, showcasing its Tesla heritage, eco credentials, natural beauty and high-end tourism. It is a rally which last year had some 50 Tesla drivers from all over the world on an 8-day rally from Istria to Zagreb via national parks, gorgeous islands and historic Croatian cities. A video of a specially chartered Jadrolinija ferry carrying just electric vehicles (perhaps a world first) was shared on the Tesla official Facebook page. 

And so it was a pleasure to head to the LEAP Summit in Zagreb yesterday to support rally co-organiser Tina Kolovrat, as she gave an excellent presentation not only of the rally itself, but also some other e-mobility projects she and husband Igor are working on (of which much more very soon). She spoke to an engaged audience of mostly young people, painting a picture of a brighter future for Croatia’s roads with the expansion of e-mobility. And she said a couple of things that made me say to myself…

Wait, WHAT?


 (Tina and Igor Kolovrat, organisers of the Nikola Tesla EV Rally, with Maye Musk in Porec on the 2015 rally)

“Among the many international participants from over 30 countries in the first four years, was Maye Musk, mother of Tesla CEO Elon, who was with us for five days on the rally.”

Wow! Here in the land of the birthplace of Nikola Tesla, home to the world’s fastest electric supercar, was the mum of Mr. Tesla (modern edition) himself. How cool a story was that? 


I googled, curious to know how much international coverage this had got back in 2015 (a month before the birth of TCN) – ‘maye musk croatia’. Search results – two tweets from the lady herself (whose Twitter handle very coolly introduces herself as the Mother of Invention) and a mention on the rally website. And that is all. She did give a couple of television interviews to the Croatian media, but how well known was Elon Musk in Croatia three years ago? A great story, and one not yet really told.  

rimac-automobili (3).jpg

The thing about the Nikola Tesla EV Rally, I have come to realise, is there is seemingly no end to the positivity or high-quality aspects associated with it, quite apart from the environmental message. It was a pleasure to meet Mate Rimac for the first time with his Concept One at the 2016 rally in Porec, for example. 


And while Mate did not come on the rally himself, the Concept One most certainly did, driven as it was by the first man to purchase one, Paul Runge, ably assisted by a Rimac engineer in the passenger seat, who was testing, testing, testing, so that he could get the perfect end result for his client. You can read my interview with the first Concept One buyer, Paul Runge, here.  


(Rimac Concept One at the birthplace of Nikola Tesla in Smiljan, during the 2016 rally)

So good was the project – despite being deprived of anything more than token official support – that it was even included in a 2016 document prepared for the Croatian National Tourism Board  – A Handbook of Per Captia Expenditure and Premium Offers, Prof. dr. sc. Tihomir Vranesevic:

Cross-over partnership of two premium brands. E.V.A. Blue d.o.o. designed and offered a premium tourist product with Nikola Tesla EV Rally linking it to the world-renowned, personal brand of Nikola Tesla.

All conceived in the focus of their consumers, they laid authority, persuasiveness, innovation, engagement, and cult status, inspiring them to continue promoting this project with further word-of-mouth, thus directly generating new demand for the next year.

The whole story perfectly fits the uniquely designed Concept One electric car of Mate Rimac, which enabled the customer to create a vehicle with the help of an engineer in the final stage.


Maye Musk came on the 2015 rally.

And it seems, from her tweet below, that she enjoyed herself so much that returned the following year. As so many of the rally’s participants do.  


The birthplace of Nikola Tesla, the birthplace and workplace of Mate Rimac, Concepts One and Two, the quietest and arguably most beautiful rally in the world, which attracts the likes of Elon Musk’s mum.

Tourism branding anyone? 


Learn more about the Nikola Tesla EV Rally 2018 here







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