BMW and Tesla executives met on Wednesday to discuss strategies on how to encourage other automakers to adopt electric car technology.
Tesla’s plan is to share their technology with everyone, which would make electric cars more universal and accepted by a wider buying public. In a blog post published yesterday, company CEO Elon Musk says that Tesla will not start patent lawsuits against anyone who wants to use the technology “in good faith.” That being said, Tesla hasn’t reportedly patented some of its more important technologies, which means that they will remain the company’s secret. The move might also discourage car companies from producing fuel cell vehicles – Tesla’s direct competitors.
Where does BMW come into all this? The automaker already sells electric cars such as the i3 all-electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid i8 sports vehicle, but its interest in the technology is growing. The purpose of the Wednesday meeting was to discuss the possibility of BMW sharing its lightweight carbon fiber technology and production expertise with Tesla to make their electric vehicles more widespread. BMW’s power and influence can help Tesla expand.
London-based International Strategy and Investment analyst Arndt Ellinghorst believes that Tesla has made a good move here.
“We view the decision as a smart one by Tesla CEO Elon Musk as we believe it will expedite further EV development and encourage others to follow Tesla’s technology glide path – we believe it is important that Tesla does not become a technology outlier. Separately, it also revealed that Tesla has held discussions with BMW. We would view any collaboration as exciting given both companies’ innovative approach to alternative drive vehicles,” he said.
Tesla currently shares a powertrain with Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler, which is being used in its electric B-Class vehicle, while Tesla Palto Alto provides powertrains for the Toyota RAV4 EV. However, since those RAV4’s don’t sell well enough to turn in profit, their production will come to a halt this year, with Toyota switching focus to the FCV hydrogen vehicles instead. For now, Daimler owns 4.3 per cent of Tesla, while Toyota Japan holds on to 2.4 per cent.
Ellinghorst says that the “collaboration between BMW i and Tesla could prove a powerful combination.”