BMW, Daimler Discuss Electric Car Platform Sharing: Compete With Tesla


It seems German rivals may need to join hands to successfully compete in the growing EV market.

A recent Autoblog report points to an upcoming joint effort between BMW and Daimler (Mercedes-Benz). The information suggests that the two are already discussing some level of cooperation in future electric vehicle development. More specifically, it appears the competing German automakers may come to an agreement regarding shared platforms for electric vehicles.  Obviously, this would be a move to position the two to better compete with EV front-runner Tesla.

Autoblog first discovered the potential partnership via German automobile publications, Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Auto Bild.

The deal is not yet set in stone and the articles make this clear. However, the story suggests that BMW’s and Daimler’s primary focus will include development of shared compact and midsize electric car platforms that can also accommodate ICE powertrains. It’s important to note that BMW and Daimler already have a more official partnership related to the joint development of “advanced driver assistance systems and mobility services.”

If these two German powerhouses finalize a plan to work in tandem, not only for future mobility pursuits, but also for multi-use platforms, the results could help drive up EV adoption on an even more exponential level. Not to mention, the monumental amount of money saved. The reports glean that both automakers could save some 7 billion euros (about $8 billion USD) if they choose this newfound path.

Source: Autoblog

Categories: BMW, Daimler, Mercedes

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68 Comments on "BMW, Daimler Discuss Electric Car Platform Sharing: Compete With Tesla"

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Big auto will not get EV’s right because.,, 1) They’re forced to build them against their will … 2) They haven’t got their heart in it ….3) they can’t think out of the box .. Big Auto’s Hate EV’s…. Hence., Doing EV’s right will be a long and hard road for traditional Big auto to travel..* 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

4) They are too late!
Game over!

They are not ❗️

Only the strong will survive ‼️

They don’t hate them, volume is too low for them right now, making an EV is not hard, it is still a car. less moving parts.

Ok the following is oversimplified but basically it is a motor (or more), a controller/charger and batteries. What bugs them is to design a new platform so it is suitable fo EV (flat floor to accommodate batteries and all the testing for the handling, crash tests, etc).

a regular(sort of) guy with some knowledge can modify an existing car

You cannot compare a 1-off DIY drag racer with a production vehicle. Besides, Tesla has so much going for them, with cells, pack, integration, performance, handling, it’s amazing. the OEMs are really hurting in the EV space.

MB and BMW customers move between the brands easily, so a sharing of and EV platform should work for both. EVs strip away everything that the German automakers claimed as superior to other automakers.

No engines, no transmissions, no challenge to get a 50/50 balance, no desire for heavy/vault/tank like design, no focus on lots of mechanical switchgear.

EVs nullify German engineering and both MB and BMW now need to create a new identity.

They’re brand loyal. They normally don’t switch that much.
Quality engineering is needed everywhere, no matter if it is a ball point pen, or a more complex product.
Quality workers, tools and quality control is also important.

#1 and #2 are basically the same so drop #2 and add a new #3 as they will rush it and screw it up.

“3) they can’t think out of the box”

Nonsense. BMW I3 is the first mass produced car with carbon-fiber frame, that is innovative way to reduce mass of the car.

Mercedes made the supercar SLS AMG Electric Drive in 2013 with 4 electric motors and active torque vectoring on all wheels.

It was innovative, but if the end result is a car that’s still less efficient than the competition, that material failed at its purpose. Both Hyundai and Tesla have come out with more efficient cars than the i3 and with much longer range, all without resorting to CFRP.

BMW I3 launched already in 2013. It is different type of car much more compact than any Tesla model. A car adapted for city driving where it is as efficient as Tesla 3.

“forced to build them against their will”.
There’s the obvious higher cost element, but its failing to respect that EVs make better touring cars that will keep hemorrhaging the smarter customers.

I agree, though, unless people experience erratic high-miles use (thus, ICE), many will stay sheep to their brand.

Exactly. An Electric is Luxury, across the board.
-Better acceleration, but also smoother acceleration to your top speed, no transmission shifts.
-Better handling, lower center of gravity.
-Better driving experience, instant torque.
-Quieter ride, no engine noise, no exhaust noise, no start motor noise.
-Better music experience, MID-RANGE comes to a car!
( No engine noise blocking mid-range and lower mid-range. )
It’s an incredible experience to be driving in the suburbs with your best music on and the experience is almost like being in a sound room, with a moving view.

If I were a BMW or MB customer, I’d buy a Tesla just to give your favorite brand the message about where they need to go.

I had a bit of a laugh about Porsche loyalists listing the “features” of the 911, all of them flaws.
-The 6 sounds bad and always had.
-The weight distribution on an electric 911 would be better, would not be the dangerous overweighted rear end, the engine actually sits outside the wheelbase.
-And they praised the “power” of the Porsche engine. As if an electric 911 would not wipe it off the face of the earth.

Isn’t it funny, if true, that these auto companies will collaborate together because of Tesla, but they won’t just collaborate with Tesla?
And they are fundamentally not getting it, ICE conversions will never compete well with dedicated EV platforms. At least VW are talking the right way with their dedicated EV platform. MB and BMW have a long road ahead of them.
At the end of the day I believe BMW loyalists, MB loyalists, VW loyalists, etc will all continue to buy from their favourite company. Tesla will convince many to try their product as well, but a vast majority of people just herd like sheep and continue to buy the brand they know and trust.

Tesla has already beaten everyone when it comes to plugin sales in Germany.
Not all are sheep some smart shepherds are also there.

yeah, so crazy how tesla sold almost 1000 cars in germany. like 30 cars a day and only 280.000 less than the rest of the market

Yea, the EV market opportunity is great

Reminds me of the tale about these two shoe salesmen who travel to a third world country in search of new business opportunities.

One man calls his wife the moment he lands, telling her, “Honey, I’m coming back home. There’s no hope here. Nobody here is wearing shoes, so there’s no one to sell to.” He boards the next flight home.

The second man calls his wife and says, “Honey, you wouldn’t believe what I found here. There is so much opportunity. No one here is wearing shoes. I can sell to the whole country!”

What is the auto market telling companies what they want more of?

Is Tesla offering to collaborate with these companies though?

Daimler already collaborated with Tesla back in the day (and saved its bacon in the process). That’s why the TMS and TMX still have all Mercedes stalks and the old B-Class and first generation Smart ED both had Tesla powertrains.

Signs of desperation…

9 billion in development costs is no peanuts. Doesn’t make them desperate in my opinion. If it doesn’t lead to a dilution of both brands products, I think it would be dumb not to do it and safe money. Daimler and BMW sell considerably less cars than VW and they don’t have the luxury that they can share platforms across 5 different brands

9 Billion isn’t peanuts, but Tesla made that investment.
This kind of article should what kind of RESPECT Tesla and Musk DESERVE from US Wall Street.
And it’s a clear indication the financial press is in Collusion with the Short Industry and should come under investigation for Securities Fraud.
If only there were some Institution or Regulator or Commission that were in charge of policing the market.

To clarify – it’s great for the EV landscape if they can bring costs down. But that is like Coca Cola and Pepsi working together on a healthy ginger based beverage, which is nice to have but Coca Cola and Pepsi working together!!!11

Any update on redesign of BMW i3 so far.

More like heavily facelifted. It will be unveiled in 2020.

No. It’s popular in Europe, they will keep it on past the 7 year design cycle, that is all.
But, hopefully, BMW will bring back the original design of the i4, the true electric / carbon fiber sedan.

I know, but it will not have the redesign, but just heavily facelifted – it will get some from iNext.

According to Autobild: Big Facelift for BMW i3 in 2020, new exterior in iNext look, all new infotainment, new battery with 500 km range (probably 295+ miles EPA).

BMW IX3 will be on sale in spring 2020.

But BMW is making billions and Daimler is making Billions and Tesla is losing Billions and is absolutely no threat for them, bla bla bla bla bla bla bla

“Never under estimate your opponent” It’s a very dangerous thing to do . ie: Remember Jos. Louis ……

If all is well in the ICE-land and Tesla is not a threat, why bother ? They can sit and wait until Tesla dies, and everything will go back to the way it was. Is that what the fossil fuel industry has been feeding you ? Looks like BMW and MB are smarter than their fans.

The Only reason Big Auto can’t make Profit on EV’s is Because They Are “Heavily Reliant* On OEM’s” ..Tesla makes 95% plus of their components “in House” & Tesla Gets to Keep all of those Profits Instead of giving profits away to OEM’s , AS Big Auto routinely has been doing for years now .Big Auto is lost when it comes to making their own components . They are not equipped to do so & don’t even know How to anymore …SO Big Auto’s HEAVILY depend on OEM’s for these parts so that they (BIG AUTO) may build cars & Survive .

Tesla is OK, but they buy a lot too. It’s not everything that is economical to make themselves.
Special equipment, skills, patents, money, space and time is needed.
They don’t make car windows, seat belts, fabrics, tires, break discs, calipers, bearings, paint, nuts, bolts, lamps, steel, aluminium, the display, electronic components, electrical wires/cables, foam, insulation material just to mention a few. I’m not even sure they have their own foundry..
But they do assemble the batteries, and use their own design. Same with the electric motor, power electronics and do on. It would be easy for them to outsource it to companies making similar products (probably not the battery, due to cylindrical cells, and the design that is unike to Tesla. Keep in mind all other manufacturers have looked at tesla batteries for a decade, and have thought f*** no, we’ll use a method that seems to fit us better).
Still, it’s good they make stuff.
Car companies tend to own stocks in many of their parts suppliers, and the deals are often very long term. The supplier share development costs for new cars and parts.

Still a rumor. It’s not yet confirmed.

“While cautioning that the potential deal could still fall apart, both reports suggest that current talks are focusing on compact and midsize cars. The platforms would be designed primarily for electrification but could also be adapted to accept traditional powertrain options.”

Compact EV and midsize cars = they probably mean A-class – B-class and 1 series – 2 series. – for the lowest common denominator.

And very high volume.

Meanwhile, Ford and GM ate still trying destroy Tesla by preventing them from selling their cars, instead of joining with them. Worst, they have decided to align themselves with the German axis of evi

Yep the world’s entire auto-industry against Tesla. Almost like a Hollywood movie. I wonder who the hero is?

Even the Hero gets a bullet in the chest “Once upon a time in the West.”

“Almost like a Hollywood movie. I wonder who the hero is?”

Tony Stark in his 800 V Audi E-Tron GT. Thanks for asking.

ohhh SAVAGE!

Last time I looked it was state laws that prevent Tesla from selling cars in certain states – not Ford or GM. I think GM’s only point is if Tesla doesn’t have to use dealerships – why do we? Even when GM created Saturn all the dealerships were franchises sellng cars at MSRP. Legacy automakers would love to sell directly to customers.

Well, we don’t need dealerships.
Not any more.

Not really, a rereading of history.
Legacy auto, de rigueur, placed roadblocks to harm Tesla’s ability to sell vehicles in every way they possibly could, aside from sending bands of tugs down to break up the place, which is also part and parcel to their style of doing business.
Lobbying, pulling the strings of the politicians in their pockets, developing bills directly and indirectly, to cause problems for the spread of Tesla, were the order of the day, especially at GM.
Apparently when you last looked into the matter, you only looked cursorily.
Just one example of many:

Stop being wrong, it’s tiresome. I thought you were better than that. I guess I should have looked more deeply into the matter of whether reading you posts is worthwhile.

Joint venture to do pure EV is fine, but why “development of shared compact and midsize electric car platforms that can also accommodate ICE powertrains” ?

If ICE is part of the equation then whatever they are developing will still be a compromise. When will they erase this mindset and focus on pure EV development ?

Because they will sell several million of ICE cars during the next 5-10 years.
There will be a transition period.
In that transition period somebody have calculated there will be economy of scale to manufacture multi drivetrain vehicles.
They can share a platform, but still be very flexible in the layout of components.
We’ll soon enough see on sales statistics if it is a smart choise.
But we have to be realistic. Will still take time before 25% of cars sold globally, will be electric. Then some more, until 50%.
During this period hundred million ICE cars will be sold. They are in the business of making cars, to make a profit for their shareholders. They want to produce as many of those cars as possible.

That’s why I say the best thing you can do to get them to move to EV’s is to buy a Tesla. That’s the only way they’ll get the message.

Cooperation can be good IF it gives the customer a better or cheaper product, or if it makes special (normally not economical) products for the customers.
If not, it will remove choise and remove different solutions, different brands may choose to develop a product.

What ever they do, as long as it offers better something. . I’m OK with it.
Product development costs is always something manufacturers wants to cut. It is really expensive. The more components they can share, the more they will save.
If something is too big, they’re too afraid to choose solutions that is not 100% safe. It’s like with people, it can be more fun to hang out with weird people, or people who have different goals in life then the average guy.. or people who focus a lot of energy on a single guy. You may not want to hang out with him every day, but in some situations he is the best.
We need weird cars, specialized cars, cars that excel in one thing. Somebody may learn from those cars, and make the everyday vehicle better.

We need a good mix of cooperation and competition to hone the products, offer more choises as well.

All major auto manufacturers prime identity differentiation is their engines. As more manufacturers treat engines as a commodity part, brand differentiation is diluted and eventually leads to companies who use only other brand engines either shrink to niche markets or go bankrupt. Most people think that electric motors are a commodity and don’t appreciate the vast improvement driven by Tesla. GM has spent a lot of R&D developing the electric motor for the Bolt and it is an impressive piece of engineering. There are many similar efforts around the world. I think this needs much more public education for gearheads world wide. Companies need to promote not just EVs but explain why their electric motor is better than the competition. If auto companies don’t do this (and traditional method of advertising their engine prowess is racing), brand differentiation will get lost. I understand that the new Formula E race cars decided to standardize on motors and batteries because there just wasn’t enough choice out there, but this is rapidly changing and I believe Formula E needs to rapidly abandon that attitude and promote companies using their own motors, controllers and battery packs of their choosing (and also abandon silly rules… Read more »

I agree about the motors, but don’t forget that the cells and the pack design are also a critical elements that bear heavily on performance.

Tesla has all three – superior motors, (possibly) superior cells, and superior pack design (particularly with the Model 3).

I don’t know if Tesla has superior motors, cells or pack designs. The are more willing to open up more of their pack capacity than any other. Part of that is calculated risk on how much you cycle the cells. But given the larger packs the number of cycles would be low for the average user.

Motor wise they switch to a permanent magnet motor from induction in the model 3. GM already used high power permanent magnet motors in the Volt and Bolt EV. EV motors are all 95%+ efficient. I don’t think Tesla has increased that any. Tesla power electronics have a better efficiency but once again it’s not technology others couldn’t use.

As far as pack design most other makers and all large makers have stayed away from cylindrical cells. They are cheap to make, but it requires designs that use 1000’s of cell versus hundreds. The design gives you lots of power, but it also give 1000’s of points for failure,

Hmm maybe antitrust, anticompetiive, tied-selling. Not nice. Abuse of dominant position. Where’s the EU and US FTC/SEC enforcement now with everyone else? Instead of that MB and BMW and VW and Ford and GM should just partner with Tesla or dare I say it, buy a small ownership position in Tesla.

BMW and Mercedes are small compared to VW and Toyota for example. Now, if BMW merged with Mercedes and Renault. . And maybe another company – There may be a problem. Not that they will ever join..
If they are to make money on EVs, they may cooperate to save money by buying things together. Economy of scale and all..
They need a good deal, to compete with Audi (VW Group), that will have economy of scale advantages compared to BMW and Mercedes, as stand alone companies.

So the next time some BMW or Mercedes or Toyota fanboy tells us that their favorite soulless conglomerate all by itself can crush Tesla whenever it pleases, stick this in their face.

They are willing to share because they don’t plan on being too serious about it and not count on making money. They will pay for this later.

they aint going for tesla, they are desperately trying to catch up to the vw meb

Even the fact that they are in serious talks with each other demonstrates how far behind they are from Tesla. I’ve been reading naysayers for 8-12 years, now, saying how, once the big boys come online, Tesla will be left in the dust. They say that Tesla doesn’t have any special sauce, etc., etc.

I don’t know alot about the auto industry, so I was inclined to consider the possibility that they were right. Well, no, they were wrong. After ALL THIS TIME, Tesla is still rocking the auto world on a global scale, and STILL, nobody is currently competing with them at scale. The “big boys” have yet to prove themselves in the EV space.

I sincerely hope that they do get their acts together. The last year and a half have been promising. VW group is serious now, BMW has been serious, though very slooooowly, and Nissan has had the Leaf, and GM has dabbled here and there.

Yes, I think if you break down their efforts in ev there has been an abysmal response from legacy auto to the challenge of Tesla, and a lot of it has been rhetoric, as if we should believe them.
The proof is in the pudding, not legacy auto announcements nor some experts who’ve never seen anything like the disruption we are in, nor even conjectured it was possible.

Rather than Legacy auto catching up, I think Tesla has actually increased its lead over them, in terms of software development, self driving, safety, improving & expanding the SC network. They are also developing vehicles to compete in areas they have heretofore not competed in, the Y, Pick-up, Semi.

They want to compete with VAG group, not with Tesla. By the end of next year, VW, Audi, Porsche, Seat and Skoda would have launched 9-10 electric models together while BMW and Daimler, only 4.
Also, negotiating components and battery prices together is easiar in an aliance.
Going through this big transformation is very expensive and sharing the costs seems logic.
Not everything that happens in the world has something to do with Tesla.

Another Euro point of view

Thank you for this common sense injection.

Though this does, as Tesla is directly responsible for it.

Cross company cooperation is very common in automotive business. Mercedes already works together with Renault for the Smart-car and the Kangoo ZE van / estate. Mercedes has earlier worked together with Tesla for the B-Class electric. A BMW and Mercedes could happen for share of EV components.

While Tesla is putting the accelerator to the floor on it EV plans, Mercedes and BMW have decided to build a committee bridge. VW and Ford are building one too, I hear.

“Autoblog first discovered the potential partnership via German automobile publications, Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Auto Bild.”

Autoblog first discovered? Why dont you simply cite the german newspapers, that did all the journalistic work?

Its like: And then John Doe invented the light bulb… by buying one from a walmart store.

I find it interesting that german manufacturers mostly only cooperate with other german manufacturers… Even after they’ve already been convicted of cartelization. They’ve been a blight to other european manufacturers because of this. Unfair competition and the EU turns a blind eye in most cases because Germany.

Fortunately now they’ve been caught with their pants down. The french manufacturers are way ahead on this game.

“… that german manufacturers mostly only cooperate with other german manufacturers…”

Nonsense. Mercedes have worked together with Renault for many years. VW is in talk with Ford. Both Mercedes and BMW have made and produced models at Magna Steyer in Austria. Porsche is working with Rimac. VW, Mercedes and BMW each works together with Chinese car companies in China.

Another Euro point of view

Indeed, correct, it is of course always better to have a little car industry knowledge when commenting about an article about car manufacturing.

Circling the Wagons.