As if Elon Musk had not already established himself as an industry badass that can basically walk on water and thumb his nose as the establishment, his cool factor shot up dramatically with the recent announcement that Tesla will be opening up all of its electric vehicle patents for anyone to use. The best part of the announcement is that Musk did it with a meme, stating “all of our patent are belong to you.”
The opening of the company’s much-lauded patents seems reminiscent of Volvo Cars doing the same thing with its three-point seat belt design back in the day. Unlike some automakers who are still trying to make a killing by selling their patents for a fortune, Tesla engaged in an act of public goodwill that few other automakers have ever dared undertake.
Many are wondering why Tesla would make such a move when so far the automaker has become the undisputed king of electric cars. According to Musk, he doesn’t see all other auto companies as “the enemy” or any of that nonsense. No, the serial innovator has looked beyond the adversarial nature of the industry and instead has focused on the greater good of humanity.
In his official announcement, Musk made it clear what he views as the enemy: the complacent nature of the large automakers when it comes to the development of electric cars. Considering that the head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recently asked people to please not purchase the new Fiat 500e, and that Subaru has a history of treating electric vehicles with a certain amount of disdain (there are plenty of other examples), it seems that Musk is spot-on.
Will the opening of Tesla’s treasure trove of electric vehicle patents lead to a dramatic increase in electric cars on the roads in the near future? It really depends on if influential engineers latch onto them and run with new electric vehicle designs, and if those who hold the purse strings let them.