Electric car maker Tesla Motors is taking an unprecedented step of opening all its car patents to outside use in an effort to encourage and speed up development of electric cars by all manufacturers.
In a blog post Thursday, Tesla co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk vowed that the company would not initiate legal action against anyone who in good faith wants to use its technology. He said that the industry would gain from open-source sharing of technologies and that Tesla was founded to accelerate the growth of sustainable transport.
The move includes all of Tesla's several hundred current patents along with the ones that come in the future. The company will still continue to file for patents in the future, but only to forbid other companies from patenting Tesla's innovations.
Shares of Tesla dropped more than 1% on the news, but have shown a growth of about 35% so far this year.
The move also comes as Tesla intends to start one of the largest plants in the country for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries and is looking for other customers in addition to its own needs to produce in huge volumes to reduce costs of the cells. Signing up new customers is creating a market for its Gigafactory.
In fact Musk said he is upset that other big automakers are doing so little to develop their own electric cars. Most current non-Tesla EVs has ranges per charge of about 100 miles whereas Tesla's Model S has a far greater range, can travel at least 200 miles between charges. The company’s supercharger technology can also recharge cars much quicker than other plug-in cars. Seven years since Tesla marketed its first electric roadster, Musk said he expected electric cars to be farther along.
The world wide industry needs to manufacture far more electric cars than Tesla can build itself if issues related to greenhouse gases and global warming are to be tackled, according to Musk. Although Tesla is joining forces with automakers including Mercedes-Benz and Toyota on their electric-car efforts, he said none of the other established car companies have reached out to Tesla to ask to use its technology.
Other tech companies, such as Google and IBM have formally declared open access to a significant number of their software patents, but this is the first time a major company sharing its entire portfolio of patents with the world.
Musk said he not only wants to advance the development of electric vehicle technology, but also to push for amending U.S. patent law.