Those waiting for a full-out brawl between Tesla Motors head Elon Musk and BMW North America chief Ludwig Willisch will have to wait a bit. For the bloodthirsty, there are signs of some healthy competition and a little bit of green-car sniping between the two automakers.
Willisch, speaking at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month and responding to questions about Tesla, noted (without mentioning that company by name) that the production process of the German automaker's i3 plug-in was "greener" than any other. According to Business Insider, Willisch highlighted the fully recyclable materials used to construct the i3 as well as the hydropower used at the carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, WA.
Willisch also noted that the Tesla Model S is "very heavy on the braking. Our car feels just like a normal car. That's a big difference when it comes to driving," Automotive News said in a separate report. The latter model weighs about a third less than the Tesla, though it also has an EV range about a third as big. The BMW executive did allow that the Tesla did make a good proverbial "snowplow," not for its driving characteristics but for its ability to get more people conformable with electric vehicle technology.
Musk was asked about the i3 in an August conference call and laughed before noting that the i3 had "room to improve." No word on whether Musk and Willisch will be sending each other Valentine's Day cards next month.