Tesla Opens its Playbook of Patents

Tesla Opens its Playbook of Patents
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Tesla announced today that it will allow open source access to its technology in an effort to encourage global electric vehicle adoption.

CEO Elon Musk wrote in a blog post today that the company “will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use [its] technology,” saying the patents “have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”

Tesla is currently in the midst of enhancing its production capacity with a massive battery production facility that has yet to be assigned a final location. Musk most recently said during a shareholder meeting that the company has three states in mind as potential hosts and that he won’t make a final decision about where the “Gigafactory will go until later in the year.

Still a tiny player in the automobile market, Musk says he doesn’t see major manufacturers releasing electric cars as a threat to Tesla, “but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.”

“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 wrote.

While it isn’t clear what Musk means by someone in “good faith,” he hasn’t been shy about describing other manufacturer’s products as inferior to the Model S.

“The unfortunate reality is the opposite: 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 percent of their total vehicle sales,” Musk wrote.

Nissan sells the Leaf all-electric car and BMW just launched the i3, but other major manufacturers are already walking away from electric cars in favor of hydrogen-burning vehicles. This week, Hyundai announced that it made the first North American delivery of its hydrogen fuel cell Tucson crossover to a customer in California. Toyota and Honda are both working to launch fuel cell electric vehicles in the near future as well.

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