Tesla Model S has been Silicon Valley’s preferred choice when it came to luxury vehicles and “green car tech”. But BMW’s i8 hybrid sporstcar might steal the spotlight from the innovative Tesla electric car.
Earlier this month, Tony Fadell, the CEO of Nest, former Apple exec and the father of iPod, has given BMW a PR boost when he picked up one of the first i8 models delivered in the United States. Fadell is currently heading the revolution on Internet of Things by creating and connecting smart devices to each other. The Nest thermostat is highly acclaimed for its design and utility.
In the Valley, over the last few years, several high profile tech figures, like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak or Google co-founder Sergey Brin, were known to not only drive the Tesla Model S, but often praise or advertise their cars to the world. The Model S was the best-selling vehicle in 2013 in the wealthy Bay Area towns of Atherton and Los Altos Hills, according to Edmunds.com, which tracks auto sales.
The i8 not only impresses everyone with its exotic looks and a supercar appeal, but it also speaks to geeky culture in the Valley, thanks to the innovative hybrid technology, carbon fiber construction and high-tech, like the laser lights.
But the i8 is not the only premium electric vehicle promoted by BMW in the Bay area. Their megacity car, BMW i3, has recently went on sale and it will soon join the DriveNow car sharing program.
“We’ve put thousands and thousands of people behind the wheel of an electric BMW,” Richard Steinberg, chief executive of the program, called DriveNow USA, said in an interview for Bloomberg. “It gets people behind the wheel of a BMW-developed and – manufactured vehicle that they probably wouldn’t ordinarily have a chance to sample.”
Both companies are on track to deliver more premium electric vehicles in the future, starting with an SUV and compact cars from Tesla, and a midsize electric sedan from BMW. Despite heading towards inevitable competition, the two companies believe they currently help each other in the quest to turn electric vehicles into mainstream automobiles. They even hold talks around sharing technologies.
Which one will come on top? Both have their strengths. BMW, on one hand controls the carbon fiber market, important in the build of lightweight electric vehicles, while Tesla aims to deliver the best batteries on the market, another important elements in the drive range of an electric vehicle.