Elon Musk puts Car Manufacturers on notice

Elon announces that he wouldn’t mind licensing Tesla battery tech, powertrain and Autopilot software. Tesla Flex.

David H. McGuire


Last month I wrote a piece on Tesla’s announcement about Tesla being on the cusp of Level 5 readiness. I also alluded to the fact that Tesla’s position had put them in a strategic position to license the technology, this would be a cap in hand moment for many of the legacy car manufacturers who are appeasing their shareholders on white elephant projects to portray they are continuing to shape the Automotive narrative. In an air of synchronicity, Elon Musk revealed towards the end of the month that he would indeed be open to licensing not only the battery and powertrain technology but also the Autopilot functionality.

This is the fork in the road that many of the Executives of car companies will have to consider going forward. Indeed, it has produced an embarrassing conundrum and will have the Board of Directors around the world wanting disclosure on all avenues with or without Tesla with immediate effect. The trepidations will set in on the power dynamics of Tesla, in addition to that will be a waiting game to see who will vanguard the opportunity first. The haste at which a manufacturer submits to Tesla’s patronage could reveal the gaping weakness within the company.

If Auto manufacturers could have their way they would love to have the deal seamlessly placed as an industry secret tier 1 provider. However, Elon’s ambitions precede the business as usual practices of the yesteryear. For Elon Tesla’s IP being championed by the legacy carmakers will be a mark of sheer glory that the imperialist tech world will see as another successful conquest.

My convictions on Elon’s announcement have also hardened — and that is, If Elon is willing to be gracious enough to license the battery, powertrain and Autopilot, does that relegate Car Manufacturers to coachbuilders? It has been a whimsical speculation of mine for at least the past two years that something like this would democratize the idea of design, would open up freelance car designers and embolden them with new possibilities to have designs bought, printed and fitted with Tesla kits.

Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash