Elon Musk is saving the world one invention at a time, and he wants you to have access to every single one of them.
In a June 12 post titled “All Our Patent Are Belong To You” on the Tesla blog, CEO and founder Elon Musk announced to the world that, “in the spirit of the open source movement,” every patent owned by Tesla has been made publicly available, “for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”
The post describes how, initially, the patents were retained in the spirit of giving Tesla a leg up in competition against major existing manufacturers. It’s no question that competition in the automotive manufacturing market is fierce, and protecting the development of new technologies was viewed as protecting the future of the company.
But, as Musk described in the post, “The unfortunate reality is the opposite: electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn’t burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales.”
But the surprising lack of competition was not what lead Tesla to release all of its patents. More importantly, the information is being made publicly available in an effort to combat the increasingly precarious carbon crisis.
“Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis,“ Musk continued to say.
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This is also not the first instance of Musk making his inventions and innovations publicly available. On August 12, 2013, he publicly released his plans for the Hyperloop, which is essentially a high-speed system of transit that utilizes air compression as its primary propulsion source. The complete plans are available on the Tesla website, as Musk himself is too busy to pursue creation of the concept. “I don’t have any plans to execute, because I must remain focused on SpaceX and Tesla,” he told the Washington Post in an Aug. 12 article.
Of course, this is all in the interest in of, well, saving the world. He is, after all, the real life Tony Stark. And, as he concluded in the blog post, “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.”