Last week, Tesla Motor’s CEO, Elon Musk, announced via the Tesla Blog that Telsa would be making its technology available to any car manufacturer that wants to use it.
Elon Musk explained his decision very eloquently when he said:
“Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.”
Tesla is in a tenuous position as it finds itself mired in court battles fighting for its right to sell vehicles using the business model it has chosen. Due to its direct-to-consumer model, dealers have continuously challenged Tesla’s position in the automotive industry through state automotive dealer associations. At the same time, consumer sentiment and support for the automaker has gotten increasingly more vocal.
While Tesla may have just thrown any future licensing revenue out the window, what it stands to gain could possibly prove more valuable in the end.
Tesla considers itself a technology leader in the electric vehicle field and in his blog, Elon Musk criticized large automakers for producing electric vehicles with limited range in limited volume. He also criticized those OEMs that produce no zero emission cars at all. Perhaps Tesla has grown weary of the large automakers efforts to prevent it selling vehicles and has resorted to the most powerful resources that they have… the public?
I’d be interested to know what others think about this issue. Is Tesla’s open sourcing of its EV technology a true gesture of philanthropy. Or simply a ruse to get attention?