Elon Musk, co-founder of companies such as PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX (and sometimes known as the modern-day Tony Stark, aka Iron Man), has has fulfilled his promise of “doing something fairly significant on this front which would be kind of controversial with respect to Tesla’s patents”.
While he has not decided to release all the patents for his Tesla line of automobiles, Musk has decided to go through with a proposal which would drastically alter the future of electric vehicles for generations to come. At the UK launch of the Model S on Sunday, Musk announced his intentions to free the patents Tesla Motors currently holds on its supercharger systems, allowing any and all of his competitors access to the technology behind the world’s most successful electric vehicle.
The news may not seem significant at first, but with Tesla’s recent surge in supercharging efficiency, the announcement could lead to many more electric vehicles on the road in the very near future.
At the 2014 annual stockholders meeting, Musk delivered the answer to the mystery surrounding a quite vague and mysterious tweet he composed earlier last month:
There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2013
Musk plans to unveil this method on June 20th. If rumor is to be believed, however, Tesla has found a way to up the speed of a supercharger to a 120kw rate, much higher than the 50 kw rate of most fast-chargers available on the market today. If Tesla has succeeded, the rate of charging one’s electric vehicle would indeed be comparable to the rate of filling one’s tank.
4 second summary of @TeslaMotors 2014 annual shareholder meeting https://t.co/uK7Ze79v9j 🙂 @elonmusk
— oeva.org (@OEVAorg) June 3, 2014
The opened patents would not come without a price, however. Barriers to entry for Tesla’s competitors would come in having to provide capital for the construction of multiple charging stations across the US, along with upping the price of one’s vehicles to include a lifetime of free chargers – a business model Tesla already practices.
If Musk is able to convince his competitors to come onboard with the standardization of superchargers, odds are he will be able to vault Tesla to the top of the electric car industry for many years to come. One can only hope for this to become true as Musk has several intriguing projects on the table at the moment, including the Hyperloop, a supersonic air travel system, new space shuttles developed by SpaceX, and even flying and underwater vehicles.
Image via Wikimedia Commons