A future where the electric car is ubiquitous cannot be built by one company alone, regardless of the hype around Tesla and its progress in consumer automotive space. That’s why it’s exciting to hear from Elon Musk himself about talks between BMW and Tesla, even if they’re only informal, around potential collaboration on battery and charger technology.
Musk’s comments are from an interview in Der Spiegel, the German weekly news publication. In the interview, Musk says that the talks entered around potential collaboration in developing future battery tech, and charger stations, which could allow for greater interoperability between electric vehicles from both brands, as well as faster advances in improvements to EV power tech.
The discussions have also touched on the technologies that BMW employees in the manufacture of its i3 compact commuter and i8 sports car, which use electric power. BMW employs carbon fibres in the chassis construction for these vehicles, which makes for more lightweight vehicles overall, which in turn means batteries can drive the cars for longer without requiring a recharge.
While it’s early days yet to say for certain that these two will work together in any kind of formal partnership, it’s a good sign for those hopeful about the future of EVs. A fragmented, proprietary market where manufacturers focus on their own tech to the exclusion of others doesn’t really help anyone in the long term, beside the entrenched fossil fuel interests.
Musk also commented on the company’s partnership with Mercedes, and said a working collaboration will continue despite Mercedes’ recent sell-off of its Tesla stake. He also expressed confusion at Toyota’s recent decision to pursue fuel cell vehicle technology, noting that a fuel cell-powered car consumers three times as much energy overall when compared to an equivalent, battery-powered vehicle.