Put the cork back in the Champagne bottle – it turns out that talk of a Tesla/BMW collaboration was just that. The German business magazine Wirtschafts Woche reports that BMW has no plans for cooperation with Tesla, and no interest in investing in the company.
The putative partnership seems to have been pretty much an invention of the media, based on an interview with Der Spiegel, in which Elon Musk said that the companies were “talking about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations,” (he might have been referring to a meeting that took place in June) and noted that BMW’s production of carbon fiber body parts “could be interesting for our body-builders.” A Tesla spokeswoman quickly quashed the rumors, telling InsideEVs, “The conversation between Elon Musk and BMW has been a casual conversation, and not about a formal cooperation.”
However, the automotive press, hungry for any excuse to use “Tesla” in a headline, ran away with the story, which apparently raised some hackles at BMW. Some of the comments quoted by Wirtschafts Woche (attributed only to “well-informed BMW circles”) sounded pretty testy, saying that Tesla was using BMW for “PR purposes.”
The unnamed BMW cognoscenti also rejected Musk’s admonition that the German auto industry should devote more energy to battery development. “We don’t need our own factory for battery cells,” was the word from Munich. BMW says it is content to acquire battery cells from outside suppliers, although it makes sense to keep the assembly of packs and controllers in-house.