The recent price cuts, which shocked the auto industry, cut into Tesla's margins, but not as much as some thought. Tesla still makes a lot of profit in a business that most carmakers consider a money pit. Ford and GM have reconsidered their options after vowing to surpass Tesla in recent years. Ford is trying to be more like Tesla, adopted the NACS charging standard, and even stroke a deal with Tesla to use the Supercharger network.
GM is not far behind, as CEO Mary Barra recently acknowledged Tesla's lead in EV technology, profitability, and scale. She also said she doesn't see EVs in the $30,000 to $40,000 price bracket as profitable until the decade's end. This is shocking, as GM prepares at least one EV model in that price segment, the Chevrolet Equinox EV. It's hard to think that Barra admits GM's arguably most important EV model this decade will never be profitable.
As emBARRAssing as this might be, Elon Musk responded generously to a tweet describing GM's struggles. The outspoken CEO reminded everyone that Tesla open-sourced many patents related to EV technologies to convince other carmakers to embrace electrification. He also said that Tesla "aspires to be as helpful as possible to other car companies," including letting them use the Supercharger network. Musk also said he'd happily license Autopilot/FSD or other Tesla technology.
The comment garnered much interest from Tesla fans and those of other brands who would love to see Tesla technology adopted. Rivian fans praised the driver+ driver-assist technology, although it doesn't hold a candle to Tesla's FSD. Licensing the latter would be a huge step forward, they admitted. It will eventually happen, as other carmakers will not see a path to profitability for their automated driving systems. It's similar to Ford licensing NACS and GM burning money on unprofitable EVs.
Even with a whole in-house team working on automated driving technology, such as Ford's Latitude AI, catching up with Tesla will not be easy or even possible. Developing a new system from scratch is expensive, and many would find it more convenient to just license a ready-to-order one from Tesla or another company already advanced in this field. There's only one problem Tesla needs to solve before selling the FSD Beta to other companies: assume liability for the software's actions.
Tesla aspires to be as helpful as possible to other car companies.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 5, 2023
We made all our patents freely available several years ago.
Now, we are enabling other companies to use our Supercharger network.
Also happy to license Autopilot/FSD or other Tesla technology.