Tesla could free up EV patents

Company bids to help market growth

Published:  10 June, 2014

EV manufacturer Tesla is considering freeing up some of its patents in a bid to help speed up electric vehicle development.

The company's founder, Elon Musk, told shareholders earlier this week that in order to speed up the pace of adoption of electric cars, the company was planning to do something "controversial" with its existing patents. He has since announced on the Tesla blog page that: "Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology".

The company has recently launched its new Model S in the UK, however adoption of electric vehicles has been slow, with the public troubled by various issues including range anxiety and charging times. A recent report stated that Government predictions of EV uptake by drivers was optimistic, with the numbers predicted by this year failing to materialise. current projections estimate that only 1% of new car sales in 2014 will be an electric vehicle.

Tesla is proposing opening its patent on its SuperCharger system, which provides three hours of driving in just 20 minutes. The move would mean the technology becomes an open source, allowing other vehicle manufacturers to use the technology, adapt it or develop and improve it, allowing this work to be shared with others.

To do this however, other EV manufacturers will need to adapt their charging systems to become more uniform, eliminating what Musk describes as "a wall of charging, with slots specific to each individual manufacturer." Adoption of such a fast charging system industry wide will allow consumers to see the EV as a real alternative to petrol vehicles. The move could also allow other vehicle manufacturers, who are currently sitting on the fence with respect to developing an electric vehicle range to come into the market, especially if they are able to use an already developed charging system.

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