Tesla Model 3
BMW's head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, believes that Tesla creates healthy competition, and willingly admits that the Silicon Valley startup has paved the way for other automakers. However, his honesty and praise doesn't come without criticism.
BMW's i3 and i8
Robertson told Car and Driver:
“In many ways, I’m very supportive of what Tesla has done. The world needs that sort of new competitor. That isn’t to say that we’re not going to be very competitive with them as well, of course—but Elon Musk has achieved a lot, and I admire what he has done.”
Traditional ICE automakers have been quick to discount Tesla in the past, assuming that the first "successful" startup in 113 years, would not live up to the parenthesized word. Over time, it became more clear that Tesla was likely here to stay, and now with the upcoming monumental release of its mass-marketed affordable Tesla Model 3, the ante is upped.
Robertson was keen to say that Tesla and CEO Elon Musk are truly contributors to the adapting automotive industry. But, he didn't leave it at that. He continued:
“I think that is moving from being a startup to being a full-blown company, and he’s beginning to understand some of the challenges that brings. Those are the sort of challenges we don’t have. We are able to productionize things and move quickly in that regard. The Model 3 will come, but I’m not sure of what volume it will come with, I’m not sure of the price point it will come with, and I’m not sure how good the car .”
Tesla surely does have a disadvantage when it comes to scale and experience. But, thus far, the electric automaker has been able to surge forward and overcome adversity.
Still, Robertson assures that BMW's iNext, upon its release, will empower the utmost in electrification for the future. BMW has enjoyed the convenience of being able to look to Tesla's offerings and technology, as a model. Now, BMW hopes to take that model, and make it bigger and better. Unfortunately, it will be at least 2021 before this happens. Is it too late?
Robertson is not concerned with the timeline. BMW already has electric and plug-in offerings. He anticipates that the company will sell 100,000 of those vehicles just this year. Prior to iNext, BMW will be moving to electrify more of its current vehicles, including the Mini Cooper and the X3 subcompact SUV. He concluded:
“We’ll have sold 300,000 or even 400,000 EVs before any have even launched them. We think that as we go through the period between now and 2025, that number will go up to maybe 20 percent.”
Source: Car and Driver