ELECTRIC Bus Startup Opening Up Its Patents for Free
Proterra, a startup that makes all-electric buses, is releasing its patents on its fast-charging technology, a move aimed at accelerating the adoption of electric transportation.
The company said on Tuesday that it would grant anyone royalty-free access to its patents covering its single-blade overhead charging design as well other related components. Proterra said it’s working with its suppliers to open up the charging design to third parties.
Releasing the patents also helps remove the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that some of the fossil fuel competitors in this industry have tried to use to slow down electric vehicle adoption.
However, there are differences between what Proterra is offering compared with Tesla’s patent release, which came with an asterisks of sorts. “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology,” Musk wrote in a post at the time. That good faith clause has left open the possibility that Tesla could sue on the patents if they feel a company isn’t acting in good faith. So far, Tesla hasn’t take such action.
Proterra’s patent release comes without these defensive conditions.
Last June, Proterra raised $55 million, $25 million of which was debt financing with Hercules Technology Growth Capital, as well as $30 million in equity from new and existing investors. Proterra previously raised about $135 million.
As of June 2016, Proterra has sold more than 206 vehicles to 26 municipal and university transit agencies throughout North America.