BMW and Daimler in talks to jointly develop electric car platforms

Each automaker could see $8 billion savings in development costs

Rival German automakers BMW and Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, are in talks to cooperate on the development of electric vehicle platforms, according to reports from Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Auto Bild. 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.

The two automakers already have agreements in place for the development of advanced driver assistance systems and mobility services, as well as a joint procurement program. But a cooperation on EV platforms is a much larger potential deal. If such a deal is struck, reports suggest each automaker could save at least 7 billion euros (nearly $8 billion) in development costs over the course of 7 years.

Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz have already invested heavily in electrification. BMW's i division has sold the small i3 hatchback in pure electric and range-extended forms since 2013. Mercedes' Smart division has been selling electric cars in volume since 2009 (with mixed results) and is about to launch the EQC, its first fully electric crossover.

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