Will Musk care? Probably not.
Tesla's status as the world's most valuable automaker means it's also heavily targeted by rivals. None of those competitors, however, are currently solely dedicated to electric vehicles. Tesla takes pleasure in breaking industry norms and considers itself just as much a technology company as it does an automaker. That distinction places it in a class of its own, but this may not be to its long-term benefit, at least in the eyes of BMW CEO Oliver Zipse.
Speaking to Germany's Automobilwoche, Zipse believes major automakers will eventually catch up and surpass Tesla in every relevant category. "It will not be easy for Tesla to keep up the pace that we have seen so far, because the rest of the industry is moving forward fast," he said.
Tesla's advantage stemmed from the fact it was dedicated to EVs from the get-go, while all other automakers only dabbled, at best, with battery electrics. But now automakers, including BMW and the Volkswagen Group, are moving full steam ahead. While Tesla is currently building new factories to produce more and more EVs, including one near Berlin, Germany, Zipse continues to position BMW for the counterpunch.
The all-new BMW iX debuted a few months ago and several new battery-electrics are coming soon, among them the i4 sedan. The iX3, an electrified version of the X3, is overseas-only. The i3 hatchback remains on sale in most global markets. "We have the ambition to build the 'greenest' vehicles in our industry - from raw materials to supply chain and production to recycling," he added.
For now, Tesla retains its much sought-after position and has the honor of producing the world's best-selling EV, the Model 3. Will this all last? It's impossible to know, but there are already clear-cut signs it may not. Aside from BMW, Audi is busy at work on its super-secretive Project Artemis while VW has its own upcoming secret weapon, Project Trinity. Across the pond, GM recently declared it'll be an EV-only automaker by 2035. Additional automakers are bound to make similar EV-related announcements.
Will Tesla be able to retain its current status now that EVs are quickly becoming mainstream? BMW certainly doesn't think so and it's probably not alone.