In the wake of Tesla offering its patents to other automakers, rumors swirled that BMW was one of the first automakers to approach Elon Musk about tech sharing. Last week those rumors were revived after Musk said he talked batteries, Superchargers, and carbon fiber with BMW executives, but an unnamed source says that Musk’s assertions were overblown.
Autoblog reports that German business periodical Wirtschafts Woche quoted an unnamed BMW executive as saying Musk’s statements were overblown, and BMW was not interested in acquiring Tesla stock or sharing technology. The one caveat was the discussion on carbon fiber, which Tesla could end up buying from BMW, as the German automaker has invested hundreds of millions into carbon fiber production in an effort to bring costs down as much as 90%. With the Tesla Model S P85D nearing a curb weight of 5,000 pounds despite an all-aluminum body, and the offer of carbon fiber is open to any interested automaker.
Tesla has also responded by saying that Musk’s comments were taken out of context, and that while the Tesla CEO respects BMW as a company, the two automakers have not entered any sort of serious discussions. In addition, the talk of a battery factory in Germany referred back to the Gigafactory, and had nothing to do with a potential battery partnership between Tesla and BMW. This appears to be a case of reporters hearing what they wanted to hear, and taking Musk’s offhand comments to mean something more (yours truly being guilty of this as well).
It’s a shame to hear that there’s less to these talks than initially reported. BMW and Tesla seem to have more in common than most automakers, especially when it comes to electric vehicles, and the pooling of talents and technology could rapidly accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. But perhaps the growing rivalry between the two automakers in the world of luxury electric cars is just too much to overcome at the moment. Can these two companies find common ground, or will they end up bitter enemies battling over the growing electric vehicle market?