Tesla open-sources patents to its EV and supercharging technologies

Article by Christian A., on June 17, 2014

Other carmakers could now gain open-source access to Tesla Motors intellectual property, chief executive Elon Musk said in his blog. He said that the carmaker has released its legal right to defend its electric vehicle patents against anyone who wants to use Tesla’s technology in good faith. He said that laying “intellectual property landmines” to inhibit other carmaker is contrary to the goal of creating compelling EVs.

Musk said in a conference call that “several hundred patents, at some time several thousand patents” for Tesla vehicles and supercharging technology will become open source, except for the battery packs it co-developed with Panasonic.

He said that Tesla would only make its own patents as open source. Since the battery packs are products of Panasonic’s patents, Tesla cannot speak on its partner’s behalf. “Anything joint with Panasonic would need their sign-off,” Musk said.

He said that Tesla will continue to apply for patents as it develops new technology, noting that the carmaker will also make them open source. He remarked that if other companies would file patents as “blocking maneuvers,” Tesla just have to file patents before they do.

Musk pointed that out that carmakers would only pursue EVs if the road ahead is clear. He noted that releasing the patents doesn’t harm Tesla and helps the industry.

Musk remarked that the carmaker would only file legal action when a rival attempts to trick consumers into thinking that a car it is a Tesla car when it is not.

According to Musk, there is a more altruistic purpose for open-sourcing Tesla patents – to help the industry build EVs fast enough to address the carbon crisis, which is something that the EV maker cannot do alone. He said that Tesla’s true competition is not the EVs made by other carmakers, but the “enormous flood of gasoline cars.”

Having the ability to sprint from standstill to 60 mph in only 2.8 seconds, the Model S could be considered as the quickest four-door sedan so far. The new Model S has its battery pack located on the floor pan, as centered between the axles – an ideal mass placement that allows for optimal handling as it gives the four-door electric sedan a very low center of gravity.

Since it has no internal combustion engine, the new Model S offers extra cargo space and a roomy cabin that could accommodate five adults and two children in rear-facing jump seats.

Moreover, the new Model S is provided with a 17-inch center touchscreen that seamlessly integrates a number of functions -- media, communications, navigation, cabin control and even vehicle data -- into a single intuitive interface. Several of these functions are also displayed on the instrument panel and could be activated by voice to allow drivers to focus on the road.

In terms of efficiency, the new Model S – being an electric vehicle -- could go anywhere without having to consume even a drop of gasoline. In fact, EPA has the fuel economy of the Tesla Model S rated equivalent to 90 mpg.

Tesla boasts of its so-called over-the-air software updates, which once installed, make Tesla vehicles more functional, more potent and more enjoyable to drive. The setup is similar to updates made to smartphones, with Model S owners getting updates – which are free during the lifetime of the electric sedan -- remotely without having to go to a service center. The latest version -- software update 7.0 -- included Autopilot capabilities.

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