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Musk Will Open Up Tesla Supercharger Patents To Spur Development 230

redletterdave (2493036) writes "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 previously said he didn't want Superchargers to become a 'walled garden.'"
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Musk Will Open Up Tesla Supercharger Patents To Spur Development

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  • Tesla == ARM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @02:40PM (#47196801) Homepage Journal

    Tesla isn't just a car company, they are a technology firm. The *real* value of Tesla (hence the stock price) is in the technology they own and control.

    If Teslas chargers become "the standard", then the rest of the world will likely have to license Tesla's other technology to be compatible. This is akin to; anyone can build an ARM-based chip, but you have to license that right from the ARM group, which makes their stock (currently) more valuable then Intels.

    Tesla running gear may also become the defacto standard for electric cars, and once the price drops, near unbiquitous -- which will make Musk extremely wealthy. Tesla won't have to make cars anymore, simply license the tech to everyone else to build.

    They then can pour that money into more R&D and build even better and better running gear which in turn, all other manufacturers will need to license to keep up with the competition.... Which of course, will keep them very wealthy.

  • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @03:22PM (#47197191) Homepage Journal

    Are the superchargers a unique selling point of their products or are they an enabling infrastructure?

    At this point the former, but he's made statements in the past he'd like it to be the latter. Of course, of the common-build EVs*, his has the largest battery packs capable of taking the fastest charge. At 120 kW, a supercharger station blows most other EV stations out of the water.

    For example, J1772 [] maxes out at 19.2kW at AC level 2, and 90kW for DC level 2., with the DC lvl 2 standard not even being finalized yet, and DC level 3 still in the initial planning stages.
    CHAdeMO's wiki [] is less useful, but it's connector is limited to 62kW. It's homepage lists chargers that max out at 60kW. []

    I'll also say that compared to Tesla's chargers, the alternatives are indeed clunky. I think that Tesla compatibility might be a compelling choice if I'm making a moderate(150+ miles) or longer ranged EV if it enables me to sell access to the supercharger network as a feature point.

    *Disclaimer because I'm sure there's one-offs that can do just the same.

  • Shops (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @04:34PM (#47197897) Homepage

    Well after reading a bit on-line, it seems that they have a business model running a bit differently:
    - they "almost give-out" the charging station to terrain owner (owner of highway shop/gaz-station, etc.)
    - the owner only has to supply electricity (and as said electricity is cheap)
    - in exchange, the owner gets an increased traffic in the shop/restraurant
    (people, who have 10 to 30 minute to kill until full charge and buy food/drinks).

    In that context, it's in the land owner's best interest to have a open technology in the charging stations:
    - the more open the standard, the more different drivers can stop to charge, and thus the more customers.

    And Tesla in turn has a small advantage too:
    - the more shop/restaurant along the highway are likely to rent such stations, the more charging spots there are going to be overall, and the less potential customer will be afraid by range problems.
    - thus market for eletrical vehicle increase (of which Tesla has a substantial mind-share, and produce the longest-range vehicle)
    - thus market for car lithium batteries increase (a field where Tesla is leading, to the point that some people want to persuade them to drop the Model S and concentrate entirely on batteries for other companies).

    Or to put it differently: all this charger will need batteries to charge, and Tesla is apparently the best game in town for batteries.
    (It would be as if Sanyo started to provide "free charging station" around in a country where Enloop have the strongest market penetrance)

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito