Tesla CEO Elon Musk, in expressing surprise other automakers haven’t made big commitments to electric cars, said Tuesday he’s thinking of doing something “fairly controversial” regarding the company’s patents.
He didn’t elaborate, but says it’s a decision he would have to “carefully explain.”
The surprising statement made at Tesla’s shareholder meeting raised questions about whether he may be thinking of a particularly bold act, such as releasing some of Tesla’s patented technology in order to foster further electric car development.
Tesla, he said, sold 22,500 cars last year and is on target to sell 35,000 this year because of key advantages, including longer range per charge than its electric car competitors. It is also doubling the number of high-speed “supercharger” electric stations that it offers, allowing Model S owners to drive intercity or now, across the country, without having to worry about finding a charging station or having to wait hours for their car to fill its batteries.
No other automakers, he says, have taken electric cars as seriously. Most are doing what is “minimally required” under rules for non-polluting cars and abandon those projects altogether when the regulations are eliminated.
“I was hoping other companies would engage in more serious electric-car programs,” he says. He says he applauds efforts to make electric cars better, like a longer range being promised for Nissan’s Leaf. He says he applauds attempts to get to long ranges on mass-market priced cars even before Tesla, which expects to field a more moderately priced car — around $35,000 — in a couple of years. It will have a range per charge of about 200 miles.