In the spirit of moving not just their company forward, but the world as we know it, Tesla Motors, Inc., creators of some of the most advanced electric automobiles, decided to share their EV technology with… everybody! What’s more, they’ve been in talks with BMW and other carmakers to share charging stations in Europe and the US.
From CEO Elon Musk’s blog: “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
To say it’s a bold move would be an understatement. But Musk believes that barricading oneself behind a wall of patents and tech-wars with their competitors not only invites litigation but impedes the very ethos they are trying to fuel.
I personally am holding out for an affordable electric motorcycle, but that’s beside the point. What is exciting and noteworthy here is the bid for a better planet by some amazing people who want to see electric vehicles replace our carbon-puffing machines – and to see it happen in our lifetime. And I say, let’s do it!
Now if we can only get those solar roadways laid. The sooner the better.
It’s remarkable not only to see Tesla Motors push to create their own vehicles, but to encourage and inspire others to do the same. The open-source trend is all about sharing inspiration as much as information. Even as I write this, two ideas have come to mind.
Create a service company that focuses on conversions – specialize in converting gas-powered cars into electric vehicles. This is dependent, of course, on the technology to implement electric engines into car chassis that were designed for internal combustion engines. But as electric engines develop, it may become an affordable enterprise for the common consumer. This may also be a transitional business model for old-hat manufacturers to move toward complete EV production. Converting cars to clean-diesel has been in practice for several years now, why not explore electric conversion?
Another idea: when the propane tank under my BBQ grill runs out, I take it to 7/11 and swap it out for a full one for $18 or so. Could we universalize, however possible, the electric car battery so they can be swapped out instead of recharged? Gas stations would become charging and/or swapping stations so people who need to keep going can do just that. This might not even be necessary as newer battery technology speeds up recharge time, but for those conversion models I proposed in the previous paragraph, it may be a helpful short-term solution.
On the other side of the issue, there’s the question of whether the necessary changes in our infrastructure can keep up with the technology. Can we generate enough electricity available to keep up with the potential mass production of electric vehicles? At what cost? And what about battery production – how with that effect the environment in the long term? The city buses in my town and even heavy duty construction vehicles run on natural gas – not a zero-emission solution, but much cleaner than petroleum-based fuel. Withdrawing our dependency on oil-producing nations is also attractive, but it would be naïve to think we could do that overnight and without major disruption to international economies.
In any case, a hearty bravo to Musk and Tesla Motors, Inc., for their efforts. I’m excited to see what comes of this.