Except no. Tesla has done what they've done because they've invested in the capital projects necessary to make viable electric cars. People forget this: The GM EV-1 wasn't that much worse than the current crop of electric cars. Teslas cost substantially more than other electric cars - a lack of value engineering improves their product. If GM were 20 years down the road, the EV-9 or whatever would likely dust the shit out of Tesla but we'll never know because as it turns out, Hummers were more profitable.
In order to increase the available market for Teslas, charging needs to be a lot more prevalent than it is now. With a magic charger, a Tesla can charge in under 20 minutes. Without a magic charger, a Tesla can charge in a little over an hour. And if Tesla wants to cut its charging time by a factor of three, it needs magic chargers all the fuck over the place.
Imagine you have a new kind of cell phone. It doesn't work on existing towers, but it's magically delicious. You have a choice:
1) put up all your own towers, at your own cost, all across america
2) Now that you have the name and the halo, open up your technology to T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T
If you want a monopoly, you go with (1). If you want to sell cell phones, go with (2).
Tesla doesn't want to make charging stations, they want to make cars. They've demonstrated that they're not only good at it, they're profitable at it. They've got the high ground: 8 years or so of head start using their patents. And while they start working on newer, better ways to use their extant chargers, they benefit greatly if GM, VW Group, Fiat Group get behind the charging infrastructure.
And that's the basic problem with this article: it assigns MORALITY to a system that isn't even asymptotic to morals:
The thing about capitalism, and our dismal history with capitalism-at-large, the "assume the other party is a shitbag" idea is so fundamentally ingrained in our cultural DNA that it is very hard to imagine any other form of collaboration/competition where this assumption doesn't hold.
Capitalism is a zero-sum game. If you are one corporation, you do much better if you have a monopoly over buyers and a monopsony over suppliers. That's not "cultural DNA" that's the rules of the road. This is why we like regulation: it returns some of the human controls to the equation. Guaranteed: Tesla took one look at the likelihood for government subisidies and backing for charging stations, said "when monkeys fly out of our butts" and figured out an economic carrot/stick approach to getting their chargers built by somebody else.
One more thing:
I believe the current skepticism around Silicon Valley's "Make The World a Better Place" mentality is deeply rooted in historical anxiety about institutional capitalism.
I believe the current skepticism around Silicon Valley's "Make the world a better place" mentality is deeply rooted in a demonstrable tendency to ignore social mores in pursuit of profit. This is an industry where a company can advertise that they don't keep your photos, keep your photos in an unhashed, unsalted environment and then get a slap on the wrist from the SEC. "Capitalism" has nothing to do with it.