Following In Tesla’s Footsteps, BMW Offers To Share Electric Car Technology
Well, this is interesting: according to Auto News, BMW wants to share its electric-car technology with other automakers.
Why is that interesting? Because Tesla Motors did something very similar last month. Was BMW inspired by Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s (nominally) altruistic act? Or is BMW trying to play catch up by making its technology the standard in the electric car industry?
BMW’s offer specifically relates to the technology underlying lithium-ion batteries that the automaker co-developed with Samsung SDI. BMW says that it would be "happy to find a way" to put those batteries in competitors’ vehicles.
That’s not quite as unselfish as it sounds.
Batteries are very expensive to develop and produce, gobbling up years of research and millions of dollars of materials. They are, without a doubt, the most costly single part of any electric vehicle.
But as we all remember from Econ 101, when production and supply increase, cost decreases. BMW is hoping that enough automakers will use its Samsung-branded batteries to bring down their cost — and subsequently, the cost of BMW’s electric vehicles. And once enough of those batteries find their way into vehicles, they become the standard, making it harder for automakers to shift to alternate options. (It’s kind of — but not entirely