In the same conference call announcing the decision to open up all of Tesla Motor’s patents for fair use, CEO Elon Musk briefly mentioned that the team at BMW had passed through Tesla’s offices on Wednesday evening.
Here’s what Musk had to say:
For high-speed charging in particular, I think that’s a great area for commonality among manufacturers. In fact, the team from BMW was visiting Tesla last night. We talked about potential ways to collaborate, and one of them was on the Supercharging network. We’re more than happy to have other manufacturers use our Supercharging network and / or to build superchargers and install them, and then maybe have some sort of cross-use agreement.
BMW spokesman Kenn Sparks confirmed the meeting in a statement:
Both companies are strongly committed to the success of electro-mobility and discussed how to further strengthen the development of electro-mobility on an international level.
From both statements, it sounds like one of the main topics of discussion between the two automakers on Wednesday was the notion of expanding Tesla’s high-speed charging network. Prior to Tesla releasing all of its patents, many believed Musk would solely open up the designs for its Supercharger systems, which are the free fast-charging stations strategically dotted along major highways designed to refuel Tesla’s electric cars in 30 minutes on average.
Tesla’s Superchargers are currently incompatible with the standard used by every other electric automaker. But Musk stands by his company’s charging design, defending its technical superiority and general appeal. Unfortunately, this separates Tesla from its electric car rivals, and as the market is still looking to expand, the schism between Tesla and everyone else similarly splits the critical resources required to expand these companies’ respective infrastructure networks.