Ford has just jumped onto the Tesla bandwagon by opening up it’s patents for all companies to use. I don’t think a Mahindra could follow suit, considering all the money they have invested and someone like a Toyota would be skeptical of such an initiative.
The important question, however, is not whether the patents are free but whether electric cars are truly good for the environment. Currently , electric cars are more a hobby horse of the truly rich and not something for the Aam Aadmi. There remains much for improvement in terms of mileage, reliability and durability. That said, they do provide a useful alternative to existing fossil fuel cars.
However, we ignore a key factor while lauding the lack of pollution from the electric car industry. Though the electric cars themselves may not pollute, we fail to account for the pollution created while generating the electricity for these cars. In India, summer months are taxing for the power network as Air Conditioning and Fridge usage rises. Add to that, usage of electricity for charging Electric cars and the strain on the network may rise manyfold. Indian electric plants generate power through burning fossil fuels/ oil. We have not tapped into natural resources or nuclear energy to an extent where they can replace fossil fuel plants.
In such a scenario, not only are we raising the cost of power , thus making electric cars even more unviable for the ordinary customer but we are also polluting our atmosphere more by burning the very fossil fuels we wish to avoid using in our cars.
The key is for the Government to come up with a clear strategy and policy for electric car manufacturers. Not only are they to provide alternative sources of power generation to ease the load on regular power networks , but also a clear direction for car manufacturers to look in other alternatives such as new fuels or mechanisms to reduce vehicular traffic and consolidate into public transport. This would also help improve productivity and standard of living for the general masses.