Update December 12: Tesla has since responded to the claims published in Der Spiegel:
“Not only did Elon not talk up a “partnership” with BMW, we actively sought to squash any such rumors the moment they surfaced during that period. Elon respects BMW as a company and we have talked informally about many things, but at no point did he claim there was any partnership or serious discussions.”
Tesla CEO and chairman, Elon Musk, has confirmed that Tesla and BMW have discussed working together on a number of different items.
The outspoken CEO sat down for a long interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. In the wide-ranging discussion he mentions, amongst other things, discussions that Tesla has had with BMW regarding possible future collaborations.
Musk reportedly described BMW’s carbonfibre joint venture with SGL to create structural components for its i3 electric hatchback and i8 plug-in hybrid supercar as both “interesting” and “relatively cost effective”.
Kathrin Schira, a spokeswoman for Tesla Germany, later told Reuters that “the conversation between Elon Musk and BMW has been a casual conversation, and not about a formal cooperation”.
Regarding Daimler’s decision to divest its four percent shareholding and Toyota’s move a few days later to sell off some of its stake in Tesla, Musk hypothesised that it was most likely due to a desire by both companies to “realise profits”.
Despite the sell down by Daimler, the two companies will continue working together. Currently Tesla is responsible for the production of the EV powertrain in the B-Class Electric Drive (above).
As for Toyota’s recently revealed hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Mirai, Musk believes that a fuel cell car requires around three times the amount of energy compared to a pure battery electric vehicle, and therefore “make no sense”.
The Tesla chairman also expects to build a battery factory in Germany in the next five to six years. He described the country as a great place for such a plant, as the nation has plenty of engineers.