Reuters reported that on Wednesday, officials from Tesla and BMW met to discuss ways to promote electric vehicles, centering on EV charging technology. Could BMW be the first automaker to gain access to Tesla’s supercharging technology?
This meeting came just one day ahead of Elon Musk’s announcement that Tesla would open-source its patents, allowing other automakers to use its technology “in good faith” to build and promote electric vehicles. BMW has been one of the few companies to embrace the idea of high-end electric vehicles, and has also been the target for the planned $35,000 Tesla sedan due in the next few years. So one would think the two companies should be rivals, but no.
Instead, as Elon Musk explained in yesterday’s patent-opening blog post, his ultimate goal is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by automakers all over the world. With annual automobile production approaching 100 million vehicles, there’s no way Tesla can hope to build every electric vehicle. It will take the combined efforts of the entire industry to make EVs happen.
Of course, Musk intends to benefit big time from widespread EV production, as his battery Gigafactory can produce enough batteries for as many as a half-million vehicles every year. Meanwhile, BMW has invested heavily into the i3 electric vehicles, building it from the ground up as an electric vehicle and pouring $200 million into increasing carbon fiber output. On a Thursday conference call, Elon Musk said that Tesla and BMW met to discuss promoting electric vehicles and how to make better use of the Tesla Supercharger network. Perhaps BMW will be the first automaker to take Tesla up on its open-patent offer.
The BMW i3, Supercharged by Tesla? It might happen sooner than any of us thought.