Image Courtesy: Kazuhisa OTSUBO @ Flickr

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, plans to share some of Tesla’s patented technology with other players in the electric car industry. The patents shared will be regarding its Supercharger station designs, enabling other electric cars to be charged at their Supercharger stations. Interested manufacturers will be provided with the designs but in turn must contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the Superchargers. Superchargers are free for people to use but the costs of running them will be low since many run on solar power.

If this plan goes through then we will be looking at a stronger national recharge infrastructure – the biggest impediment to better reception of electric cars. Another strong disincentive to buy an electric car are the high prices, however better infrastructure will lead to more electric cars in the market to reduce those prices.

Presently, charging stations can take up to four hours to charge an empty battery. Fast charging stations can run at up to 22kW or 43kW, but the Supercharge stations designed by Tesla charge at 120kW and can recharge 80% of a battery in 30 minutes. In a couple of weeks Tesla cars will be receiving a software update rumored to enable newer models to charge at 135kW!

As a business savant known for his foresight, Elon Musk recognized the potential in PayPal before anyone else did and eventually enabled its sale to eBay for $1.2 billion. His strategic release of only certain patents will enable electric cars to use Tesla's Supercharger stations, facilitating the construction of better recharge infrastructures, but maintaining that Tesla Motors would still be ahead of the pack (especially considering the success of the Model S). By expanding the size of the pie, he is increasing his share and will most likely establish Tesla as the premiere product in that bigger segment.

The Tesla Model S was one of the best cars to come out last year, winning Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award. It alone has 250 patents on record and more pending, according to Elon Musk. Furthermore, one of the biggest challenges for the electric car industry is long distance driving. Without a larger number of recharge stations located countrywide, buying an electric car just does not make sense, especially if you plan to do a lot of driving on the highways. The number of recharge stations is slowly increasing but still nowhere near optimal. Earlier this year a father-daughter duo undertook a cross-country trip in a Tesla Model S, and although it showcased the ability of a good electric car, their route was determined by the availability of Supercharge fast charge stations.

Tesla has a considerable patent portfolio for a relatively new automobile company, with patent applications constantly being filed. Whatever Tesla's motives may be, the fact is that electric cars cause considerably less harm and pollution, so making them affordable will be a great victory for the environment. Additionally, this is a prime example of how sharing knowledge may actually help your business. When you are part of an industry heavily reliant upon a secondary market, expanding the market to create a demand for the product is a wise move. Closely guarding an innovation, preventing others to improving upon it, effectively disallows the industry to further grow.


When it comes to sharing your intellectual property (IP), you should always ensure that you leverage it effectively with a proper IP strategy. Use Traklight's ID your IP to get started today.

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