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Saturday, June 14, 2014

BMW + Tesla superchargers a strategic move?

On Wednesday Tesla and BMW met, but what specifically was discussed was not published.

“Both companies are strongly committed to the success of electromobility and discussed how to further strengthen the development of electromobility on an international level,” a BMW spokesman said in a statement.

On Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company has been in talks with BMW and other automakers on the topic of promoting EVs and making better use of its German Supercharger charging stations.

Musk said that Tesla’s intent wasn’t to create a walled garden around it's supercharger network and that the company is more than happy to allow other makers to use its fast chargers.

There are number of preconditions, though. Firstly, other makers’ cars would need to be able to accept the 135kW output of the Supercharger. Secondly, rival manufacturers would have to contribute to some of the capital cost of the fast charging network.

The Germany market for long range EVs has some unique requirements. Not only is Tesla offering a special tune-up so that its Model S is capable of 130 MPH to compete against the local Porsches, BMW,s Mercedes and Audis on Germany’s unrestricted, high-speed autobahns. But the extra aerodynamic load resulting from sustained Autobahn speeds (drag is proportional to the square of speed) means that a huge network of very high powered (read: Fast) EV charging stations is essential for the long range EV market to be viable in Germany.

With BMW, Audi, Porsche & Mercedes all having leaked plans for 400-600km BEVs there will definetly be future demand for a fast charger network in German. Establishing the Tesla fast charger standard in Germany now in partnership with BMW, the undisputed leader in EV investment, could be seen as a strategic move.

If Tesla doesn't build it, then someone else will!

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