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The Good News
2014 July
Pg 3 - The Sunshine Express
Tesla Motors Gives It Away
attract and motivate the world¡¯s most talented en-
gineers. We believe that applying the open source
philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather
than diminish Tesla¡¯s position in this regard.
investigated, but are limited by a low storage
The new molten air batteries, by contrast, offer
the best of both worlds: a combination of high
storage capacity and reversibility. As the name
implies, air acts as one of the battery electrodes,
The Molten Air Battery
All Our Patent Are Belong To You
By Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla Motors, Inc
June 12, 2014: Yesterday, there was a wall of
Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto head-
quarters. That is no longer the case. They have
been removed, in the spirit of the open source
movement, for the advancement of electric ve-
hicle technology.
Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent
of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the
creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then
lay intellectual property landmines behind us to
inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary
to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits
against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use
our technology.
When I started out with my first company, Zip2,
I thought patents were a good thing and worked
hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good
long ago, but too often these days they serve
merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions
of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal
profession, rather than the actual inventors. After
Zip2, when I realized that receiving a patent re-
ally just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to
a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible.
At Tesla, however, we felt compelled to create
patents out of concern that the big car compa-
nies would copy our technology and then use
their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing
power to overwhelm Tesla. We couldn¡¯t have been
more wrong. The unfortunate reality is the op-
posite: electric car programs (or programs for any
vehicle that doesn¡¯t burn hydrocarbons) at the
major manufacturers are small to non-existent,
constituting an average of far less than 1% of
their total vehicle sales.
At best, the large automakers are producing
electric cars with limited range in limited volume.
Some produce no zero emission cars at all.
Given that annual new vehicle production is ap-
proaching 100 million per year and the global fleet
is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for
Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address
the carbon crisis. By the same token, it means
the market is enormous. Our true competition
is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars
being produced, but rather the enormous flood of
gasoline cars pouring out of the world¡¯s factories
every day.
We believe that Tesla, other companies making
electric cars, and the world would all benefit from
a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.
Technology leadership is not defined by patents,
which history has repeatedly shown to be small
protection indeed against a determined competi-
tor, but rather by the ability of a company to
¡°Tesla will not
initiate patent
lawsuits against
anyone who,
in good faith,
wants to use
our technology.¡±
- Elon Musk, CEO,
Tesla Motors, Inc
New, high-energy rechargeable batteries;
Researchers develop molten air battery
with commercial potential
June 27, 2014: While electric vehicles offer many
advantages, including reducing greenhouse gas
emissions and the country¡¯s dependence on
imported petroleum, at least one barrier stands
in the way of their large-scale adoption: ¡°range
The current 2014 electric Nissan Leaf, for ex-
ample, has a range of just 84 miles on a fully
charged battery.
With support from the National Science Founda-
tion, researchers at George Washington Universi-
ty, led by Stuart Licht, think they have developed
a novel solution, and they¡¯re calling it the ¡°molten
air battery.¡±
These new rechargeable batteries, which use
molten electrolytes, oxygen from air, and special
¡°multiple electron¡± storage electrodes, have the
highest intrinsic electric energy storage capacities
of any other batteries to date. Their energy den-
sity, durability and cost effectiveness give them
the potential to replace conventional electric car
batteries, said Licht, a professor in GWU¡¯s Colum-
bian College of Arts and Sciences¡¯ Department of
The researchers started with iron, carbon or va-
nadium boride for their ability to transfer multiple
electrons. Molten air batteries made with iron,
carbon or vanadium boride can store three, four
and 11 electrons per molecule respectively, giv-
ing them 20 to 50 times the storage capacity of a
lithium-ion battery, which is only able to store one
electron per molecule of lithium.
¡°Molten air introduces an entirely new class of
batteries,¡± Licht said.
Other multiple-electron-per-molecule batteries
the Licht group has introduced, such as the super-
iron or coated vanadium boride air battery, also
have high storage capacities. But they had one
serious drawback: They were not rechargeable.
Rechargeable molten batteries (without air), such
as a molten sulfur battery, have been previously
The liquid electrolyte covers the metal electrode
and is also exposed to the air electrode.
The batteries are able to recharge by electro-
chemically reinserting a large number of elec-
trons. The rechargeable battery uses oxygen
directly from the air, not stored, to yield high
battery capacity. The high activity of molten
electrolytes is what allows this charging to occur,
according to Licht.
The electrolytes are all melted to a liquid by
temperatures between 700 and 800 degrees
Celsius. This high-temperature requirement is
challenging to operate inside a vehicle, but such
temperatures are also reached in conventional
internal combustion engines.
The researchers continue to work on their model
to make the batteries viable candidates for
extending electric cars¡¯ driving range. In the
Licht group¡¯s latest study, the molten air battery
operating temperature has been lowered to 600
degrees Celsius or less. The new class of molten-
air batteries could also be used for large-scale
energy storage for electric grids.
¡°A high-temperature battery is unusual for a ve-
hicle, but we know it has feasibility,¡± Licht said.
¡°It presents an interesting engineering
(by Lisa Van Pay, Lauren Ingeno, George
Washington University)
while simple nickel
or iron electrodes
can serve as the
other. ¡°Molten¡± refers
to the electrolyte,
which is mixed with
reactants for iron,
carbon or vanadium
boride, then heated
until the mixture
becomes liquid.
¡°Most of the important things in the
world have been accomplished by
people who have kept on trying when
there seemed to be no hope at all.¡±
- Dale Carnegie