Tesla Opens Electric Car Patents to the World
Today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that he’d be releasing his company’s patents to the world, and vowed never to litigate any other company “who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
The move comes after news first hit earlier this week that Tesla would release patent information for the company’s Supercharger stations, which power the company’s electric cars, but so far haven’t found widespread adoption. That, too, followed Musk saying that he was considering doing something “controversial” with Tesla’s patents at a shareholder’s meeting this past weekend. The controversy is here, it would seem, but it remains to be seen what reaction Tesla’s automaker rivals – and its shareholders – will have.
Musk outlines his reasons for the move pretty succinctly in his blog post on Tesla’s website:
“Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
Musk also elaborates on how his feelings towards patents have changed since he started his first company, Zip2. That experience taught him that “receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit,” and that he “avoided them whenever possible” since.
Now that Tesla has been up and running, Musk says he sees that other car makers haven’t embraced electric cars at all, despite all the evidence that points to fossil fuel’s contributions toward climate change.
“Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis. By the same token, it means the market is enormous. Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.
“We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.”
This might be remembered as the day that Elon Musk helped change the world. This might also be remembered as the day that Elon Musk tried to change the world, but was ignored because of entrenched business interests in the auto and oil industries.
Solving climate change can’t be accomplished by the electric car alone. But what a difference it would make if, by 2024, for instance, every major automaker switched from using gasoline to Supercharging stations. It’s entirely possible that Musk’s announcement could make the world a cleaner, greener place in less time than was previously imagined.
Or, perhaps, this announcement will fall on deaf ears. Let’s hope it’s the former, and not the latter.
[Source: Tesla Motors]