It’s been about a month since Elon Musk announced that he was opening Tesla’s electric car patents to the world. Since then though, the response from the auto industry has been…timid, to say the least. The Detroit News reports that especially among American automakers, there isn’t much interest in Tesla’s technology.
Why? Because despite holding some 160 patents, Tesla battery technology is considered to be dated compared to some of the batteries used in other EVs. Many automakers have already invested millions, or even billions of dollars into EV programs of their own, many of which aren’t likely compatible with Tesla technology. Even so, both Nissan and BMW are said to be in talks about sharing Tesla technology…though American automakers seem a lot less interested.
GM, for example, has a team dedicated to building competitive products for Cadillac to take on Tesla with. But as far aas co-opting some of the Silicon Valley automaker’s patents? GM isn’t interested. It’s the same over at Fiat-Chrysler, whose CEO Sergio Marchionne has publicly asked people to not buy the fast-selling Fiat 500e. Chrysler just isn’t into Tesla technology, and Ford apparently isn’t feeling it either, though that should come as less of a surprise given Ford’s lack of commitment to its sole electric vehicle, the Focus Electric.
The sole bright spot in Tesla’s open patent offer with Detroit may lie in access to Supercharger technology. With the ability to top-off a 85 kWh Model S in an hour or less, there are already more than 100 Superchargers spread across the nation. If other American automakers were to embrace Supercharger technology…well who knows how far it might take this nation?