But it all depends on other automakers.
Few could have ever imagined that Tesla, founded in 2003, would overtake Toyota as the world's most valuable automaker in 2020. Despite the odds, Tesla has managed to bring electric vehicles into the mainstream, predominantly with the Tesla Model 3, while forcing rivals to play catch up. They aren't doing so on their own terms. Tesla CEO Elon Musk must surely be enjoying the last laugh.
And now he may have found another way to continue doing victory laps and potentially earn billions of dollars all at the same time. How so? By licensing and supplying powertrains and batteries to competitors. This could provide a relatively fast solution for automakers who don't want to waste any more time and money developing similar systems and components.
What's especially interesting is that Musk is open to licensing the highly desirable Autopilot software. He wrote in his Twitter statement that Tesla simply desires to speed up the advancement of sustainable energy, rather than eliminating competitors. Whether that's entirely true or not, it remains to be seen if any of those competitors are willing to take up Musk's offer.
It's worth noting that this isn't the first time Tesla has offered up its technologies. Toyota and Mercedes-Benz teamed up with Tesla in the past to use its battery and EV drivetrain technology. However, both automakers had investments in Tesla at the time, which is no longer the case today. Then again, some automakers may be somewhat reluctant to do business with Tesla.
Just last week, for example, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Rivian, claiming it stole trade secrets and poached employees. Of course, any signed agreement would be done to avoid situations like this, but rivals might view any deal with Tesla as a sign of defeat. Smaller brands, however, might conclude they have little choice.
Developing everything from batteries to electric motors to platforms requires billions of dollars, money not every company has. If they don't sign partnerships with larger competitors, Tesla might represent an interesting alternative.