In response to reports that German automakers are working feverishly to catch up to Tesla in the electric vehicle segment, Elon Musk tweeted that the U.S.-based EV maker that he helms is willing to help them close the gap. The Tesla CEO tweeted that the company is open to licensing software, supplying powertrains and batteries, and even sharing access to closely-held technologies like Autopilot.
Tesla is open to licensing software and supplying powertrains & batteries. We’re just trying to accelerate sustainable energy, not crush competitors!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 29, 2020
This wouldn’t be the first time that Tesla has made overtures toward sharing its proprietary EV technology. In fact, both Mercedes-Benz and Toyota have partnered with Tesla and used its battery and electric drivetrain technology, but at the time both automakers had made sizable investments into Musk’s company.
And way back in 2014, Musk said the automaker would make all of its patents in EV technology open to other companies getting into the electric space, though that was more of a we-promise-not-to-sue-you type of deal that very few established car companies had interest in pursuing. Just recently, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Rivian for allegedly poaching its employees and stealing trade secrets. It has also sued China’s Xpeng and self-driving startup Zoox.
At this point, it’s not clear what powertrains or batteries Musk, who said in a recent earnings conference call that the biggest limitation to Tesla’s continued growth is battery cell production at an affordable price, is willing to license or supply. Tesla currently runs a battery joint venture with Panasonic, but also sources batteries from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and South Korea’s LG Chem.
Reports from Silicon Valley suggest that Tesla is currently working on an expanded battery manufacturing center at its current headquarters in Fremont, California. That project, dubbed Roadrunner, would have three shifts of employees and run all day, every day, seemingly pumping out batteries.