Elon Musk has said repeatedly he wants to “do something controversial” with Tesla’s collection of electric car patents, but he finally offered specifics at the UK launch of his Tesla Model S on Sunday.
The Tesla Motors CEO said he would like to open up the designs for his Supercharger systems — the free fast-charging stations designed to quickly refuel Tesla’s electric cars — to create a standard for other car makers to use.
Musk has previously said he didn’t want Superchargers to become a “walled garden.” The only way to guarantee that from happening is to help electric car makers integrate their own designs with Tesla’s proven configuration.
We’ve reached out to Tesla Motors for comment. We’ll update this story as soon as we learn more.
If Musk indeed shares the blueprints for his Superchargers with the greater community, it wouldn’t be the first time the PayPal founder has given away an idea to spur interest and development of a new technology.
Last August, Musk shared his proposal for the “Hyperloop,” a high-speed form of solar-powered air travel that would allow commuters to travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes, or between New York and Los Angeles in under an hour.
Like the Hyperloop proposal, it’s possible Musk wants to involve third parties so they can help subsidise costs related to the manufacturing and maintenance of the Supercharger infrastructure. Tesla has been had at work to expand the Supercharger network in the U.S., but the company is still expanding to other countries.
Tesla’s rivals may not be as successful, but all electric car makers would benefit from a universal charging standard — and, should that happen, more charging stations.
Tesla’s all-electric Model S sedan, which was released in mid-2012, has received numerous awards, including Motor Trend’s 2013 “Car Of The Year
.” It was also the only car to ever receive a 99 out of 10 from Consumer Reports, which called the Model S a “technological tour de force … brimming with innovation.”
The Model S starts at $US63,570 and ranges up to $US115,770 for the works. Tesla said it sold 22,500 vehicles last year and is on track to sell about 35,000 in 2014.