German Minister Asks BMW, Mercedes When Will They Make An EV ‘Half As Sexy As A Tesla’

The big three German automakers (BMW, Daimler and VW Group) make no secret of their plans to launch tens of electric vehicles by the middle of next decade.

Still, they have very few electric cars on sale today. Furthermore, those that are available (or will be soon) haven’t become segment leaders. That’s something that seems to bother Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. More specifically, the official hates the fact that Tesla has got the upper hand on German automakers when it comes to EVs.

At a panel on artificial intelligence, Altmaier asked the head honchos from Daimler and VW Group a brutal question.

“I really wonder when you, Mr. Zetsche, or you, Mr. Diess, or Mr. Krüger of BMW will be able to get an electric car build, which is only half as sexy as one by Tesla,” Mr. Altmaier (pictured below) was quoted as saying by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

With regard to the design of German electric vehicles, Altmaier also told the executives they “could actually come up with some fresh ideas.”

Present at the event held in Berlin last week, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and VW Group CEO Herbert Diess couldn’t (or didn’t want to) come up with an answer. As for BMW CEO Harald Krüger, he was lucky not to attend the panel.

While styling is a matter of personal preference, Altmaier’s remarks are a bit unusual in a country where politicians and big business leaders rarely criticize one another publicly. The minister didn’t elaborate on the matter but his distaste of German EVs might have something to do with early models derived from combustion-engined cars.

Vehicles like the VW e-Golf and Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive look almost identical with their conventional counterparts. The BMW i3 is the exception, but the minister doesn’t seem to like it either — even though the official abbreviation for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy he runs is… BMWi.

We’re curious whether Altmaier will change his opinion once models like the Audi E-Tron, Mercedes EQC, and Porsche Taycan arrive in dealerships.

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      Sometimes it’s not so easy to find an answer for a stupid question.

  • performante

    Porsche is part of VAG. The Taycan is looking great.

  • salamOOn

    So Mr. Altmaier needs a sexy EV? Midlife crisis?

  • Mr. EP9

    The words “SEXY” and “Tesla” just doesn’t go together. Tesla’s are anything but sexy; they’re hideous. Now replace the “E” with a “3” and that’s an entirely different matter.

    • Matthew Daraei

      I loled hard at your last sentence! Nicely done 😀

  • Seats & a steering wheel

    Model S is definitely sexy, but Model X?…yuk.. model 3?.. nice, but not sexy. I thought the BMW i8 is wayyyy more sexy than any Tesla, even if it’s not a full EV.

  • rockyroad

    From a holistic stand point, the established companies such as those mentioned are not doing as much in revolutionising the cars and responding to climate change as their expertise suggests. The struggling Tesla is merely an example of change in the industry until VAG, Daimler, etc are done with holding onto their combustion engine nature.

  • Seats & a steering wheel

    One big point the German minister is missing is that Tesla has a cache that BMW, Mercedes etc will never match. Tesla is a pioneering EV company that makes cars that look different to everything else. They have a charismatic leader (for better or worse) that Germans cannot emulate. They are the Apple of the automotive world.

    • Shelby GT500

      Well, at least Germans can make normal car designs. Look at Tesla 3 and then on BMW i3… BMW has really stupid design. Even Chris Bangle did better cars…

  • Jason Panamera

    I think this minister was misunderstood and meant when these companies gonna have electric models like Tesla S, X, 3, Y models lineup. Or he just lacks of genteelness.

    • Belthronding


  • Matthew Daraei

    He is fat, why the hell he’s talking about cars being sexy or not?!

  • PK

    you don’t need to tell or remind the europeans how to make attractive cars. they’ll just get the job done. i mean the heart of automobiles is in europe after all.

    • Ken Lyns

      O rly?

    • Not when it comes to EVs, They are internal combustion and that was so last century. EVs are Pacific rim and Euro don’t border the Pac.

      • PK

        don’t underestimate the europeans. they’re the pioneers of automobiles for a reason.

      • Stephen G

        The shape of the body or interior appointments have no relativity to the propulsion system. A Jaguar XKE is just as sexy with a v12 as it is electrified. I feel all the German manufacturers (for the most part) produce horribly boring conservative designs. That will not change with electric motors.

  • mihsf

    Opel Corsa next year.

    • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

      The Opel Corsa isn’t owned by a German company or manufactured in Germany.

      • The current Corsa is either built in Spain or… Germany. Next generation starting next year will only be built in Spain along side it’s Citroën cousins and brothers (MokkaX, CrosslandX). And why isn’t Opel German? Is Opel French now and was American before that? Is the Vauxhall Corsa still British?

  • Dennis James

    Kick in the nuts 🙂 )

  • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

    German Minister should understand that Tesla is $10bn in debt. German manufacturers care about profits.

  • SteersUright

    The Porsche Taycan will be the first “other” sexy electric car to offer an alternative to Tesla. Shame there’s no appealing and exciting sporty option in the $25-$40k range.

  • Anon

    Audi #1 🙂

  • IDK maybe put a supermodel in one of those Evs..? Telsa’s got everyone feelin the dropsy….

  • ultraman

    You must design sexy cars NOW! That is an order. No pressure though.

  • MarketAndChurch

    I think he’s just saying this because he knows that Audi/Porsche and Mercedes have very sexy EV options around the corner and he wants to eat his words publicly when they launch next year and 2020.

  • f1300

    Now, there you can find another fine example of a blind arguing about colours…

  • Bash

    What an blind ignorant!!

  • Daniela Wolf
  • Christian Wimmer

    In my opinion ALL current electric cars, whether they are from Tesla, BMW, Mercedes, Nissan etc., are butt ugly and/or bland.

    The sole exception being the Renault Zoe. Now that is a cute and gorgeous little thing.

  • Tesla are not really Sexy… The model S is a classic shape Sedan, looks ok, The model X is just ugly, the model 3 ok but strange…
    VW… Well Golf E is just a Golf, Audi A3 E tron, is an A3… the Etron lol Looks like a V8 SUV, why?
    Smart ED/EQ is a smart…
    But yeah Mercedes EQ is just stupid looking. Why do electric cars need a blue fake grille?
    BMW i3… I like it but guess not everyone.
    Not going to mention Nissan, Mitsubishi… (but we can mention the I pace, it looks good).

    By the way he didn’t mention Porsche’s mission E / Taycan.

  • Stemider

    Totally agree. So many so called ‘Tesla killers’ and we end up with boring cars from Mercedes (EQC, really) and Audi (fake grille, fake stripes…boring) and BMW saying that their future EV’s will be no more interesting like i3 and i8,.

  • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

    Um he’s an idiot. Mercedes and Porsche have Tesla killers on the way and BMW already makes the I8. The Model is starting to look very dated and the model X is fkn hideous.

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