In a world where patents protect everything from Apple’s rounded corners to Amazon’s white backgrounds, Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk is doing something completely unprecedented: Releasing his electric car patents for all.
This means if other automakers want to make e-cars, they can use Tesla’s technology to do so.
We just told you about the tech visionary’s offer to share the technology behind his Superchargers — the fast-charging, plug-in stations for his company’s electric vehicles — with the competition.
And now, in a blog post titled “All Our Patent Are Belong To You” (shout-out to the Zero Wing nerds!), Musk wrote that Tesla’s wall of patents have literally been removed from the lobby of its Palo Alto headquarters “in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”
He adds that his company will not “initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
Why would Musk do such a thing? In one word: Sustainability.
As the eco-conscious entrepreneur writes, there are 100 million new cars on the road per year, but it’s “impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis.”
You see, with all the hype about electric cars over the years (and a slow uptick of sales), it still hasn’t become mainstream to own one. We know plug-ins are much more environmentally friendly than typical gasoline-chugging, smog-emitting vehicles, but e-cars can be expensive and niche. (Tesla’s 2014 Model S costs about $70,000 but they’re working on a cheaper $30,000 model).
Additionally, with the current production rate of e-cars being less than one percent of total vehicles made, car companies aren’t making nearly enough zero-emission vehicles for the market. Even the well-intentioned car buyer could argue, “Where do I even buy one of these things?”
So by freeing Tesla’s intellectual property, Musk is also freeing up the competition by allowing other car makers to improve and expand the e-car market.
“The mission of the company is to accelerate the widespread adoption of electric cars,” explained Tesla spokesperson Simon Sproule. “If Tesla acts as the catalyst for other manufacturers … that will have been achieved.”