Tesla Motors is making its patented technologies freely available to any company that wants to use them. CEO Elon Musk announced today that the electric car company will not initiate lawsuits against anyone who uses its technology in good faith.
Musk is hoping that allowing other car companies to use Tesla technology will incentivize new developments in the field of electric vehicles. The move could also lead to Tesla's design becoming the standard method of charging for electric cars, enabling public charging stations to be compatible with vehicles from any manufacturer.
"Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport," says Musk in his statement. "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."
Musk says he applied for the patents out of fear that major car companies would copy the technology and overwhelm Tesla. With massive manufacturing facilities and a strong public presence, Tesla couldn't hope to compete if companies like Chevrolet and Ford began producing similar vehicles.
"The unfortunate reality is the opposite," says Musk. "Electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn't burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales."
Musk says that with nearly 100 million new cars being produces every year, Tesla wouldn't be able to make a dent in the dominance of gasoline vehicles on its own.
"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," he says.
By releasing all Tesla patents to the public, Musk hopes that more electric cars will hit the market, and reduce the unsustainable and environmentally harmful use of gasoline vehicles. The decision came as a shock to some Tesla executives; however Musk is confident that the move won't hurt the company.
Some manufacturers may already be looking at using Tesla technology in future vehicles. Executives from BMW met with Musk on Wednesday. Musk urged that BMW take advantage of Tesla's "Supercharger" technology, and even suggested BMW build a "gigafactory" similar to the ones Tesla is planning to accelerate production of high-quality batteries.