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Tesla Motors May Go Open-Source

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Tesla Motors May Allow other Automakers and EV Engineers Over the Wall.
Tesla Motors May Allow other Automakers and EV Engineers Over the Wall.

Tesla Motors may be worth over $25 billion, but founder Elon Musk’s dreams aren’t all about the money.

The bigger picture, according to Musk, is to make clean transportation easier for everyone, and not just those who can afford the luxury-car-priced Tesla Model S, which comes with exclusive access to the growing network of Tesla Superchargers. On his own, Elon Musk has made Tesla Motors a model of electric vehicle capability and infrastructure, but he doesn’t want it to be so exclusive.

Given that there are competing electric vehicle charging standards, and that Tesla Motors is really in a league of its own, encouraging people to adopt electric vehicles hasn’t been easy. There’s simply too much confusion. Imagine having to drive past three “other” electric vehicle charging stations on your way to “your” charging station, not because the other three are occupied, but because they’re not the right protocol? In an effort to create a standard, SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and automakers have been somewhat at odds, but a recent announcement by Tesla Motors could help to force a change.

Tesla Motors’ patents are what help to keep the very successful company ahead of its competition, from battery pack design and construction to the Tesla Supercharger electric vehicle charging station and protocol. Elon Musk says that he may turn over a number of these patents for other automakers and charging station manufacturers, if it would help to create a universal electric vehicle charging standard.

The open-source model, if Tesla Motors goes through with turning over its patents, could greatly expand the electric vehicle market and infrastructure. If turning over patents helps to lead to a new standard, even if it isn’t the Supercharger standard, it would certainly help to make electric vehicle ownership an easier prospect.

Image © jcurtis4082

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3 COMMENTS

  1. LoneWolffe beepee If EV’ers wanted the hassle, they’d probably make their own EV to begin with.  But today they want the convenience without the gaggle, and why shouldn’t  they.  Ya know, we’ve got wireless this and that, but Mr. Tesla pioneered wireless electricity itself.  Masseurs Tesla and Diesel performed their landmark innovations before 1947 – if they were around today both of their heads would explode from the unfulfilled potential alone  My hat’s off to Elon Musk, I don’t know which was more impractical, his building the EV or, him trying to build a ‘new” but conventional gasoline powered car, a la GM, Ford or Chrysler – either way he’s responded to the chants of “you’re crazy”, with his own “in your face”. . . .and that’s great.

    One more thing, AC won-out over DC because of the (then) DC voltage drop over distance.  But I can remember, as a kid, when the electricity went out, only the low voltage DC telephone worked and it worked long distance too.  After 1947 low voltage DC secretly had a life of it’s own, and the telephone was at the core of it all.  Wozniak and Jobs went “dumpster diving” one day, and now we all have telephones with keyboards and displays, literally.

  2. beepee I’m thinking it’ll probably be that way but, much like the AC/DC grid, i think AC won out because it had better publicity. that doesn’t necessarily make it better. just because SAE made up a standard doesn’t exactly make it better, so I guess we’ll just have to wait for the automakers to come to some consensus.

    until then, does that mean EV owners will have to drive around with a gaggle of adapters in the trunk?

  3. SAE notwithstanding, electrical standards already exist where the size, shape, and plug configuration signify it’s capabilities (i.e. voltage and/or amps).  Within reason, there are practical “converters” or “adaptors” that allow one type of plug to be connected to some “other” type of outlet/plug.

    In a way it’s the competitive spirit or “one-upmanship”.  There was AC/DC, VHS/Beta Max, or even Mantle/Mays, but Mercedes Benz (“Engineered like no other car in the World”) seldom patented it’s innovations, yet the auto industry, as in, “Ford has a better idea” would never merge technologies.  Regardless of whichever AC charging station is used, those stations will always be tied into the conventional AC grid – which some will say is the problem.  Solar charging stations would have the improbable job of converting to AC, whereas TDI Diesel Generator based charging stations would require O&M that would defeat the purpose.

    It would be interesting to know exactly how many gallons of “conventional” diesel fuel it would take, to support an “on-board” TDI Diesel Generator powered EV, across America – the diesel back-up could, of course be air-cooled.  Again, no new technology (early VW beetles incorporated an air-cooled, rear drive horizontally opposed (boxer, pan head) engine.  At 25mpg (low estimate I get closer to 30mpg) my MD Sprinter Van uses less than 120 gallons of fuel, cross country, and that’s a TDI Diesel Engine and power train @ 3/4 ton capacity.

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