At a string of recent events Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hinted at doing something dramatic with the company’s patents and reiterated Tesla’s willingness to share its fast charging stations with other manufacturers.
When asked by an investor at the company’s annual shareholder meeting about what he might do to speed up the development and adoption of electric vehicles, Musk said he was “contemplating something fairly significant [and] controversial with respect to Tesla’s patents”.
Clarification on this was sought at the launch of the Model S in the UK. Asked by the BBC if he was “considering giving technology away” Musk replied, “You’re on the right track”. The Tesla CEO then elaborated slightly further by saying that Tesla was “trying to accelerate the advent of electric cars [and] if we create technological barriers to that, it’s not going to happen”.
In that interview, as well as at the annual meeting, Musk stated that Tesla didn’t “want to cut a path through the jungle and lay a bunch of land mines behind us”.
Neither Musk nor Tesla has yet to precisely outline what the company might do with respect to its patent portfolio.
In relation to the company’s network of fast charging or Supercharger stations (above), Musk said that Tesla’s intent wasn’t to create a walled garden and that the company is more than happy to allow other makers to use its fast chargers.
There are number of preconditions, though. Firstly, other makers’ cars would need to be able to accept the 135kW output of the Supercharger. Secondly, rival manufacturers would have to contribute to some of the capital cost of the fast charging network.
Musk stated this last hurdle shouldn’t prove to be particularly high, as many sites are leased rent free. To date no other brands have approached Tesla about using its fast charger network.
Tesla recently announced pricing for its all-electric Model S sedan on the Australia market, starting at $96,208 for the entry level model that’s equipped with a 60kWh battery.