Elon Musk: Our Hope is That Other Automakers “Do Copy Tesla”


Elon Musk Answers Questions For Nearly an Hour

Elon Musk Says Go Ahead and Copy Us

At times, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says some of the wildest things ever imagined:

Musk Welcomes Copycats

Musk Welcomes Copycats

“We hope the big car companies do copy Tesla.”

Musk then added:

“When you consider what is the fundamental good Tesla will achieve, it’s getting the rest of the car industry to move toward sustainable transport faster. I don’t know why they’re taking so long.”

Which makes his initial “copy Tesla” statement seem more reasonable.

Musk seems to what a bunch of Tesla copycats in the automotive industry, but while that would certainly be beneficial for the EV movement, we’re not so sure Tesla would benefit from having “big car companies” copying the electric automaker.

Source: Forbes

Categories: Tesla


Leave a Reply

27 Comments on "Elon Musk: Our Hope is That Other Automakers “Do Copy Tesla”"

newest oldest most voted

Easiest way is to open the details of battery packaging in Tesla. IMO If all companies can find the optimum way of packaging battery cells they will move to electric very fast.

The problem is they can’t actually copy tesla exactly, nor can tesla open source it’s designs (that would be a breech of fiduciary duty to investors and stock holders). It’s really about getting other auto makers to build competitive products.

You make an important point about stock holders. If I were a Tesla stock holder, I would be outraged. Steve Jobs sued anyone trying to copy his stuff. Apple kept all product development under maximum secrecy until the last possible moment. And if you tried to copy Apple’s products — I’m looking at you, Samsung — Apple sued you into oblivion.

Right. Apple sued Samsung into oblivion. Funny, I still see Samsung phones around all the time. A Lot Of Samsung Phones.

And as for Elon Musk saying that copying is okay; you have to take his “offer” with a bit of salt. Obviously, Musk is not asking other manufacturers to violate Tesla’s intellectual property. He simply wants to see more EV’s on the market.

Yes, what Elon means is not for them to steal intellectual property (all of Tesla’s specific tech is patented), but rather to “copy” Tesla by building an EV with similar specs.

Can Samsung use the “rounded corners” now?

I’d be shocked if any major auto company in the world didn’t already buy a Model S and tear it apart. They know the details of Tesla’s battery packaging.

However, they have a giant core business in selling ICEs. They’re gonna let Tesla be the guinea pigs, and will follow when risk and investment is minimal.

Yes, that is how it seems to be. Until it affects profits, or a government mandate requires it, the big boys (foreign & domestic) are refraining from going balls-deep* into EV’s. Sad really, because if you have the resources of 1000+ engineers, imagine the EV that could be designed. Heck, these designs may already be done for the most part, but when will they see the light of day is the question.

* in this context, my definition of “balls-deep” would be a 200+ mile BEV, and possibly looking at investing in a nationwide network of superchargers. IOW, copy Tesla as this article refers to.

I think all of them already did “Retro-engineering”

I seriously doubt battery packaging is holding any company back. As has been discussed, many times, Tesla is not really using any technology that isn’t already available at other manufacturers. They are just using a different business model.

Not totally true. Certainly, other manufacturers are able to pack batteries together in fairly dense configurations. What hasn’t been shown is the level of battery management that tesla has attained. Especially handling cold & hot weather and battery pack life-span. We’ve seen the early Leafs that suffered significant battery degredation, for example. Battery management simply isn’t in the DNA of most ICE-makers.

But the real issue is that most automakers are stuck in the past and are afraid to take a real step into the next generation of automobile technology.

It’s not an issue of packaging. And there is nothing special about how tesla does it.
the hesitation is far less specific. they still think that electric drive is a passing fad so they can keep making their moronic pickup trucks.
they are truly that mindless.
bob lutz thinks global warming is something al gore made up. really.
they are schmucks like everybody else. they just get unreasonable salaries.

The problem that these companies will have is to find the software boys to write the code for all the software in the new cars. Microsoft Yahoo etc including Tesla are all having problems finding software programmers. They are trying to get them from outside the USA and that is proving to be hard too. Detroite, Japan Germany etc will have an even bigger problem to get these software people to work in thier countries.

Detroit already has tons of software engineers. All cars already require a lot of software.

The more there are compelling EVs, the quicker people accept EVs as valid choice. Today only small fraction of Tesla’s potential customers are seriously considering Tesla, because they are skeptical towards EV technology and there are very few test drive opportunities. But if e.g. Audi and BMW are bringing compelling EV on markets, they may then choose an EV and if they choose EV, Tesla certainly has advantage as first mover with global supercharging network.

Electric vehicles are therefore not Tesla’s main competitors, but Tesla is competing against ICE cars. And especially Tesla’s worst competitor is the old and conservative prejudices.

This is, IMO, THE most interesting thing in the EV movement right now: When will other car companies realize that it is in their best interest as commercial entities to do everything they can to compete in the EV segment. The two companies that frustrate me the most are Toyota and Honda. Toyota seems to be terrified that if they bring out an EV it will hurt their quest to build some sort of utopian hydrogen fueled transportation system. That’s insane, and Toyota has to realize that if their hydrogen cars can’t compete with their own EVs (if they had any), then they sure as heck can’t compete against EVs from other companies that haven’t made a huge hydrogen bet. I will never understand the arrogance of non-monopoly companies that think they can refuse to compete with their own products. And Honda? The company that gave us the original Insight? They’re really content to sell a handful of Fit EVs? What a joke. I am confident that Toyota, Honda, and every other car company currently hesitating will embrace EVs in time, for two reasons: [1] To stay competitive as other companies do it, and [2] they’ll have no choice, as… Read more »

Honda is a disappointment for sure, but remember that they are the single largest producer of ICEs in the world. They don’t just make cars and trucks, they also make generators, lawn tractors, marine engines, motorcycles, the list goes on.

Toyota has made a huge bet on fuel cells. I’m not convinced there is a future there, but others think otherwise. I’m going to keep my mind open for now. They will release their first FCV next year. If it’s like the Honda Clarity, we’ll know FCVs have no immediate future. If it’s a serious offering, the rest of this decade could get very interesting…


+1 Lou. Extremely disappointing that these two companies seem to have lost their vision.

Brian, when you see the very low production numbers Honda and Toyota are planning for their H2 cars, it’s pretty evident that they don’t see a real market for quite a while. Toyota’s R&D chief has been quoted in the mainstream Japanese press as saying they won’t be competitive until 2030.

Even if H2 vehicles were cost competitive today, there’s no infrastructure, and the hydrogen production and distribution costs will far exceed electricity for the foreseeable future.

Who will buy H2 cars when they can get a 200+ mi range BEV whose fuel cost is 1/4 or less that of H2?

The cost curve of solar produced electricity is going steadily down. You can source it locally. How will H2 compete with that?

I have not seen production targets from Toyota, I know that Honda has produced less than 1000 Clarity FCVs in how many years? Like I said, I’m reserving judgement until I see what actually happens. But unless Toyota outsells the Leaf with this car, it just isn’t a viable solution just yet. I don’t have high hopes 😉

I don’t think the infrastructure problem is unsolvable. Hydrogen can be produced by anyone with access to electricity and water. It’s even cheaper to produce with natural gas. Of course, neither compares to the EVSE in my garage. The question is, which is more likely to happen on our highways – hydrogen or quick chargers? Given that I have access to neither (and only marginally care about what LA has), it seems a question of who wants it more.

Totally agree with that. Toyota in particular should be the leader in EVs since it should have been a natural progression for them. They are both very very disappointing so far.

“When you consider what is the fundamental good Tesla will achieve, it’s getting the rest of the car industry to move toward sustainable transport faster. ”

If this was really true, why did Tesla go their own way with superchargers? Do they really expect every company to roll their own standard?

I believe Tesla is attempting to establish such a significant technical lead that they can set the standard. The revenue from the IP licensing would be very significant. These are software guys. The think like software guys.

I know they have mentioned the possibility of licensing use of their technology. I have not heard of any action taken yet, but I hope they are talking to other automakers behind the scenes…

I think it’s pretty simple. Tesla looked at the “standard” at the time (chademo) and saw it rolling out very slowly and spotty. They also saw a lot of flaws in it: including charging speed, connector size and licensing issues. There may well have been timing issues as model S design was going on in 2010-2011. I am pretty sure they also considered the charging network in their deliberations. There is a lot to be said for controlling your own destiny. Waiting for some one else is not what a leader does.

As it is, the tesla charging technology and implementation beats everything else hands down. The connector is sleek, small and easy to use. The same connector works for both home charging and superchargers – no funky adapters or extra charge ports needed. It supports >2X the chademo standard’s speed. To top it off, their supercharging network is well thought out. Placing SCs near food, hotels and shopping make it a much better experience. With a chademo, you can charge at an auto dealer – whoo hoo!

There is simply no one like Elon. DIS MAN IS AMAZIN

JB Straubel is even more amazin.

Elon is an idealist and the corporate douches really don’t understand that 🙂