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Published on June 5th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Elon Musk May Do Something “Controversial” With Tesla Patents

Elon Musk

Elon Musk could do something “controversial” with patents filed by Tesla Motors, and that something could be releasing them for free to the world. It’s a bold move that could help spur a new wave of electric vehicle innovation by the world’s automakers.

This wouldn’t be the first time a game-changing patent was released by an automaker for free. The three-point safety belt found in every car in the world was invented back in 1959 by Volvo engineer Nihls Bohlin. Volvo then applied for an open patent, allowing every other automaker to use the their patent for free. Countless lives were saved by this move, and countless more could be saved if Tesla opens up its patent book.

Musk didn’t elaborate on what he was planning, only that he would have to “carefully explain” what this meant. With Tesla having the best battery packs in the business, opening their trade secrets could be a major boon to the EV world.

But, by sharing his patent technology, Musk could encourage those automakers sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see which alternative fuel technology wins, to get into the EV game. The Tesla Model S is by far the most popular and successful EV on the market, and I have little doubt that automakers want to replicate that success.

The patents might not have anything to do with the Model S though, at least not directly. Instead, Tesla could open up the patents to their Supercharger system, which delivers a full-charge to an 85 kWh Model S in just an hour. I’m not sure how Model S owners might react, but opening the Supercharger technology to other automakers could be the shove they needed to put more EVs on the road.

Among the patents Tesla holds is for a multi-port Supercharger station, as well as a Supercharger that could deliver a full charge in just 5 minutes. There’s also a long-range hybrid lithium-air battery pack Tesla patented but never built, but could help other automakers develop even better energy storage.

Then again, such a move could jeopardize Tesla’s potential EV dominance. What are your thoughts on the matter? Should Tesla share its patents with the world, or keep them for their own use?

Source: USA Today


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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

    Nice! That kind of thing is what makes Volvo my favorite car company.

  • Tim Cleland

    This is great. Free minds, free markets…
    By freeing up the patent(s), it allows more minds to make improvements, which improves the chances of EVs making economic sense. When something makes economic sense, it becomes mainstream very quickly.

  • Halid

    Something Nikola Tesla would be proud of.

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