Elon Musk recently said that Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) will open up its charging technology to competitors; but don't think that this is a gift to the industry. Tesla understands that it's still a small player in the auto market and, as the electric-vehicle industry grows, it may be on an island with its proprietary high-voltage chargers. But as American car companies fight to standardize the SAE combo standard (Japanese companies use the CHAdeMO standard), Tesla wants the industry to switch to its standard.  

For that to happen, Telsa needs help because it accounted for only about a quarter of EV sales last year, and it was actually General Motors(NYSE:GM) Chevy Volt that was the best-selling EV in 2013. So, the industry standards others are using for high-voltage charging is leaving Tesla out in the cold and making its customers buy extra adapters just to use these other chargers. This is forcing Musk to decide whether Tesla should stay proprietary, or get others to join the cause. Specialist Travis Hoium covers why Tesla is making this move, and why automakers may not follow along, in the video below. 

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends General Motors and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.