Friday, June 13, 2014

Tesla surprises world again

That headline could, and should been a common sight a century ago. The Serbian-born inventor was light years ahead of more famous inventors, such as Thomas Edison, but never became rich or famous.

Though he lived to be 87, and though he was born before the American Civil War was called on to help the Allies fight the Nazis in World War 2 he is not a household name.

In addition to his most famous achievement, making alternating current power supplies possible, he also was the first to try to transfer electric power wirelessly.

Now, in a vicarious way, he may be getting some of the attention he deserved.

Entrepreneur Elon Musk, developer of the state-of-the-art electric car, is granting other companies access to all the patents his corporation has developed.

At no cost.

Musk is making the gesture to show his frustration with industry and how slowly it has moved to develop cars that will not destroy the plant with greenhouse gas emissions.

Clean, fast and efficient electric cars are no longer something from a Hollywood film, but make up only one percent of the world’s car population.

Musk said his company had guarded its patents and technological advances zealously, like Apple vs Samsung.

He said on Thursday that development of the cars was too slow to help deal with climate change and global warming.

Given that it takes years to get news cars to the market, to use a cliché, it is time to jump start the process.

“It is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis,” Musk said on the company blog.

Sharing technology could help. “In the long term, I hope this improves the rate at which we transition toward sustainable transport.”

He also said governments must remove the red tape that allows companies to control new technology too long.

“I do think we need some patent reform. Far too much energy,” is going into “patents that do not foster innovation.”

The South African-born Musk, known for his role in PayPal and SpaceX, explained it on the company website:

“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.”

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