Musk announced this morning that Tesla will make its patents available to the public. That means anyone or any company can use Tesla's technology to make and improve non-Tesla electric car models.
It's not something you see every day, given the current copyright battle between Samsung and Apple.
Think about it. There's only a few hundred electric car charging stations around the country - give or take a few. If more companies jump on board to create more electric cars, there will be more charging stations, and the adoption rate of electric cars will happen much quicker than if Tesla was in on the venture alone.
Here's what Musk had to say in a statement on the Tesla blog:
Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis. By the same token, it means the market is enormous. Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.
We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.
Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed 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 applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.
You can click the source link at the bottom of the page to read the rest of Musk's statement.