After Elon Musk announced that he was opening the book on Tesla’s multitude of EV patents, it didn’t take long for BMW to initiate a discussion with the electric automaker. Apparently those discussions have been fruitful, as Elon Musk told Germany’s Der Spiegel that he had met with BMW representatives to discuss batteries, charging stations, and carbon fiber.
“We are talking about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations,” Musk said in the interview with the weekly magazine. He also said that BMW’s efforts with carbon fiber are both “cost efficient” and “interesting” to the Tesla CEO, and it’s easy to see why. By using carbon fiber, the BMW i3 manages to be the lightest electric car on the road, tipping the scales at a svelte 2,600ish pounds.
BMW aims to bring carbon fiber prices down some 90% to make it more viable as a replacement for steel. Compare that to the nearly 5,000 pound Tesla Model S P85D, and you start to understand why Musk might be interested in BMW’s expertise on the matter. Word has it that the Tesla Model III will be made mostly from steel instead of aluminum like the Model S; could a partnership with BMW could put carbon fiber on the table.
That’s less likley than Tesla teaming up with BMW on batteries and charging stations though. The California automaker already sells batteries and drivetrains to rival Mercedes-Benz, and of particular interest to BMW are the Supercharging stations. BMW also has a few ideas regarding EV charging though, and both the i3 and i8 have been well received. and considering Elon has always targeted the BMW 3 Series as a benchmark for the Model III, it seems to me these two companies may have more in common than most automakers.
But that’s not to say all their goals align. Musk is keeping Tesla all-electric, while BMW is exploring hydrogen fuel cells with Toyota. Toyota and Tesla recently parted ways, and the Japanese automaker has since come out saying that nobody wants to buy EVs.
Tell that to Tesla.
It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, comes from talks between Tesla and BMW. Will future BMWs plug into the Supercharger network? Will next-gen Teslas be made from carbon fiber?