Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk released all of the leading electric car manufacturer’s patented technology for open use Thursday, and said no company will be penalized for copying products in an effort to further the electric auto frontier.
The entrepreneur made the announcement in a blog post on Tesla’s website.
“Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case,” Musk wrote. “They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”
Musk said he hopes access to the technology will spur fellow automobile manufacturers to produce high-performance, long-range electric cars similar to the company’s landmark Model S, which has dominated consumer reports, reviews and performance ratings since 2012.
According to Musk, technology leadership has been historically proven not to be driven by patents, “but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers.” Musk said he believed opening Tesla’s patents in the spirit of the 21st century’s open-source technology philosophy “will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.”
During the company’s investors meeting last week Musk publicly announced he was thinking of doing something “fairly controversial” with the company’s patents. He followed up with an announcement earlier this week that he would open the company’s record charging technology and network of Superchargers to any interested manufacturers in order to share and strengthen the future infrastructure of electric vehicles.
At the meeting Musk said he was surprised other companies had yet to seriously invest in electric vehicle research and development.
Musk said he used to fear that industry giants would copy Tesla tech and crush the startup with their vast resources and big-budget marketing arms — which never happened. Instead, traditional companies have been content to produce a small selection of underpowered models with limited ranges — stark contrasts to Tesla’s 250-plus mile range and 300-plus horsepower Model S.
The space, solar and auto entrepreneur said the electric vehicle industry needed to be fostered, and introduce consumers to a better quality of powerful, sustainable cars in an uncertain environmental future.
“We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform,” Musk said.
Tesla stock took a predictable hit in afternoon trading following the announcement, forfeiting gains and turning negative with shares down by 0.2 percent before 3 p.m.