Book review: The Tesla Revolution – Why Big Oil is Losing the Energy War

The Tesla Revolution presents an overview of the impending transformation of the world’s transformation and energy systems. Some may find the title a bit of a misnomer – this isn’t a book about Tesla, but rather about the much broader topic of electromobility and renewable energy. However, to a remarkable extent, Tesla has been, and continues to be, one of the main drivers of these trends, so if you want to give the upcoming upheaval a catchy name, the Tesla Revolution is as fitting as any.

The authors cite several reasons for the demise of the dinosaur-derived fuels, but one of their main ones is depletion of the world’s oil supplies, and the threat of a shortage. This is a minority view these days, but the authors present facts and figures to support their outlook. Oil prices are higher than they were in the early 2000s, and much of the world’s “easy oil” has been exploited, driving oil companies to turn to more expensive (and more environmentally risky) sources.

There are sections on the history of fossil fuel dominance, the geopolitics of oil, the implications of climate change, and some predictions about the energy systems of the future.

This book would be a good read for someone who is beginning to learn about the world’s energy transformation, and would like to understand the mechanisms by which the Oil Age is ending. However, regular Charged readers may find that it covers mostly familiar ground. Unlike Tony Seba’s Clean Disruption, The Tesla Revolution does not add any major new insights to the field. The information and conclusions here are sound, but much will already be familiar to anyone who follows the EV/renewable energy scene.

This book is published by the Amsterdam University Press. It does not credit a translator, but it seems likely that it was translated from the Dutch. Whatever the reason, some of the language is pretty bad. While many books are replete with typos, the result of careless editing, the problems here are bad grammar, poor style, and the sort of bizarre sentence constructions that are inevitable when one is not writing in one’s first language. Also, some of the technical information is not presented in a precise manner – the casual reader will get the point, but the engineer or scientist may be annoyed to find that some statements are technically incorrect. A future edition would greatly benefit from the services of a technical editor and a copy editor.


The Tesla Revolution – Why Big Oil is Losing the Energy War

by Willem Middelkoop and Rembrandt Koppelaar

Amsterdam University Press

255 pages (plus references)

$22.49 at Amazon