Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the company is willing to supply its electric vehicle (EV) tech to other companies.
Musk made the comment on Twitter in a reply to a story from Tesla news site Teslarati about Audi CEO Markus Duesmann’s recent statement that the company was at least two years behind Tesla in terms of EV computing power and self-driving car tech.
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
According to Musk, Tesla has no problem with helping companies like Audi catch up.
“Tesla is open to licensing software and supplying powertrains & batteries,” said Musk. “We’re just trying to accelerate sustainable energy, not crush competitors!”
Musk didn’t comment further on the matter, so it’s unclear exactly which types of batteries Tesla would supply. As it stands, the company runs a battery joint venture with Panasonic, while sourcing batteries from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology and South Korea’s LG Chem.
While Musk says the goal behind selling company resources isn’t to “crush competitors,” it should be noted that Tesla has much to gain in the EV market in doing so.
“The supply could lower the entry barriers for startup EV makers, posing a potential threat to legacy automakers, which have their own platforms,” said Park Chul-wan, South Korean battery expert and professor at Seojeong University, in an interview with Reuters. “The strategy, if successful, will increase the EV market’s dependence on Tesla,” he said.
In any case, batteries are the most important and costly component of an EV, so Tesla could, in theory, fetch a high price for theirs.
On the other hand, it remains to be seen whether companies will actually take Musk up on the offer. In 2018, he also said Tesla was willing to open up its Supercharger network to other manufacturers for a licensing fee. However, no company actually ended up doing so, suggesting that the industry may not have agreed with Tesla’s asking price.