[UPDATED 11/25/14 2:00 PM EST to correct mistranslated quotes and include Tesla’s response.]
In an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel, Elon Musk said that the German auto industry should devote “much more energy to the development of batteries,” perhaps an allusion to Daimler’s recent decision to shut down Germany’s only cell manufacturing facility. He expects Tesla to establish a battery production plant in Germany “in the long term.”
He also hinted that Tesla has been talking with BMW about a possible alliance in batteries and lightweight components. “We are talking about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations,” said Musk. He described BMW’s production of carbon fiber body parts as “relatively cost-efficient,” and said that it “could be interesting for our body-builders.”
No details of the prospective alliance were offered, but the two companies could have much to gain by collaborating in these areas. BMW and Tesla executives met in June to discuss high-speed charging standards. BMW’s Herbert Diess recently said that carbon fiber technology is already “very, very economical,” and researchers are well on the way to making it even cheaper.
A spokeswoman for Tesla Germany put the brakes on the excitement, telling InsideEVs, “The conversation between Elon Musk and BMW has been a casual conversation, and not about a formal cooperation.”