Tesla Motors has published all its patents in an attempt to help electric car manufacturers take on fossil fuel-powered vehicles.
On the company’s blog, Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, explained that the company had decided to publish the patents “in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology”.
Musk explains that he reached the decision after making a U-turn over the usefulness of patents. Musk explained that he initially actively sought patents in his early business ventures only to discover that they ended up becoming “a lottery ticket to a lawsuit”.
“At Tesla, however, we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla,” explained Musk.
To the company’s surprise, this hasn’t happened. Despite the runaway success of the Tesla, electric vehicle sales worldwide represent less than 1% of traditional major car manufacturers’ sales.
Musk explained: “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.”
As a result, Musk has decided that, by publishing the company’s patents, Tesla will be able to accelerate the adoption of EVs. Musk concluded: “Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.”
Last week Telsa Motors delivered its first right hand drive Model S’s to the UK. Numbered among the first five owners was Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James. The company also revealed an ambitious programme to rollout its ‘superchargers’ across the UK. The company claims that by the end of 2015, Tesla drivers will be able to “drive the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland relying only on the free-to-use superchargers for energy”.