“We believe that by applying the open source philosophy to our patents, it will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.” Elon Musk
By Linn Smith
July 8, 2014—If you haven’t heard about Tesla Motors you’re missing some outstanding work by a company that supports clean energy vehicles. Tesla is an independent automaker, who is striving to eventually offer electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer.
In an article by Christy Lewis at http://www.ytcleanenergy.org, she describes driving a Tesla Model S electric car over Teton Pass in Wyoming. The Tesla started out charged with the capacity to go 263 miles. As it climbed the mountain, it lost a little range capacity, but still maintained 245 miles of power and, at the top of the mountain, the Tesla had 220 miles of range capacity left. The Tesla car only lost 25 miles of range capacity in a 6 mile climb. Then, as it declined the 10 miles down to the bottom of the pass, the Tesla gained a 5 mile range due to braking.
Lewis states, “Driving an electric or hybrid vehicle up steep mountain passes can decrease the efficiency because you are not driving ‘ideally’. However, this Tesla trip shows that the effects of regenerative braking negate some of the less than ideal effects of driving up a steep grade. Overall, the Tesla traveled 110 miles and only lost 14 miles off the “ideal” range.”
Lewis describes how the regenerative braking system of the Tesla works, lengthening the time between charges. “If you are coasting down hill in a vehicle, your wheels accumulate a large amount of kinetic energy. As you go faster, and need to brake, all of that kinetic energy is lost as heat to the atmosphere in the traditional gasoline burning vehicle. In electric vehicles or hybrids, the electric motor runs backwards to brake the car when you press on the brake pedal. As the motor runs backwards, it acts as an electric generator, and produces electricity that goes straight to the car’s battery. So every time a hybrid or electric vehicle brakes, it is essentially charging its own battery!”
Opening The Door to Tesla’s Patents
On June 12, 2014, a statement by Elon Musk, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Tesla, was released providing open access to Tesla’s technology. Musk stated, “Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology. Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
He also noted that electric car sales by major car companies are less then 1% of their total sales, and it is impossible for Tesla to build cars fast enough to address the current climate change crises attributed to burning fossil fuels.
Tesla has opened its patents up to all manufactures and engineers, in hopes that the technology to combat global warming will accelerate to meet the demand for reducing fossil fuels. “Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be a small protection against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that by applying the open source philosophy to our patents, it will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.”
Tesla Motors and Elon Musk get it! Either we work towards saving our planet for future generations or we don’t! Maybe it’s time car manufacturers stop thinking about profits and start thinking about our future!