Elon Musk says Tesla might ‘open source more code’ to other automakers

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by | May 30, 2023

Elon Musk suggested Thursday during a Twitter Spaces with Ford CEO Jim Farley that Tesla might open up some of its automotive operating system code to other automakers.

“In the same way that maybe Android is helpful to the phone industry as sort of a general standard, like we could potentially open source more code,” said Musk. If Tesla takes that leap it will compete with Google, which has developed an automotive operating system based on Android, as well as Apple.

Musk was responding to Farley’s note that making a “fully software updatable vehicle” is “super hard.” The billionaire executive said Tesla would be happy to “be helpful on the software front.”

Musk made the comment during a Twitter Spaces that was used to announce a milestone agreement between Tesla and Ford. Under the deal announced Thursday, Ford’s EV customers will get access to the Tesla Supercharging network in the U.S. and Canada. More importantly, Ford agreed to incorporate Tesla’s charging port into its second-generation of EVs, which includes a truck and three-row SUV, starting in 2025.

Musk often spitballs ideas for Tesla at live events, some of which come to fruition and some of which don’t. If Tesla were to try to commercialize its over-the-air updatable software to other vehicles, it would put the automaker in direct competition with Google and Apple.

Google offers automakers Android Automotive OS, which is modeled after its open source mobile operating system that runs on Linux and is modified for use in cars. Apple also jumped into the OS game last June when it announced that its next-gen CarPlay aims to power a vehicle’s entire instrument cluster. Both tech companies also offer a middleware product called Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that connects a user’s phone to a car’s infotainment system.

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