Astute readers and Tesla Motors took issue with a line from a General Motors press release yesterday that claimed the start of electric motor production for the Chevy Spark EV made GM the "first domestic automaker to build electric motors and drive units in United States." The question was whether or not Tesla, which builds the Model S in California, isn't already doing exactly that.
So we asked GM, which told AutoblogGreen that, "from our understanding Tesla does not 'wind' their own motors. 'Wind' is a verb that has a broad meaning synonymous with 'build' since the winding processes are the most capital- and process-intensive part of motor making, whether it is round wire (like theirs) or square wire like ours ('winding' for us means all the wire forming, wire insertion, twist, and welding are done at the same facility)."
In response, Tesla told AutoblogGreen: "We manufacture all parts of Model S motors here at the factory in Fremont, California. We have a winding line at the factory where we wind our own stators off of spools. We also manufacture the rotors and other components to the unit."
This all might be a bit of a semantic disagreement, but it is nice to see automakers fighting over the rights to say they were first in this particular aspect of electric vehicle manufacturing. It also makes us smile that the two companies involved both have "Motors" in their names, so maybe it's a point of pride. Now, if anyone wants to look into the history books and see how EV motors were made in the early 20th Century, we assume neither GM and Tesla could lay claim to being "first."