Cars

Published on May 13th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan

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Electric Vehicles Now = 15% Of BMW Passenger Car Sales In N. America, 10% Of Brand Sales

May 13th, 2016 by  

BMW-i3-2-enhanced

We’ve been having a lot of fun with BMW lately — from visions for the i5, to news of big BMW i3 and BMW i8 range boosts, to rumors of an electric MINI Rocketman, to second-round test drives of the fun i3. I know our diverse readers span a wide spectrum when it comes to EV and automaker preferences, with many 100%-electric-Tesla fanbois & fangurls but also plenty of people who prefer conventional automakers and their approaches to the EV market.

As you may well know by now, my take is that no conventional automakers seem to be making a 100% effort on the electric vehicle front — with perhaps the highest ratings being 60–70% from the likes of BMW, GM, and Renault-Nissan. Depending on the specific topic (and probably my mood), I’m either inclined to support these automakers for the efforts they’ve made and cheer them toward a “100% effort,” or I’m inclined to bash them for dragging their feet and risking both their own corporate futures as well as the future of humanity and countless other species.

Today, I’d encourage people to cheer on BMW for 2.5% of global BMW Group sales being plug-in electrics (including plug-in hybrids), while also pushing BMW to step up its game in order to get to 10%, 20%, and 50% much quicker than almost anyone thinks possible. If BMW doesn’t do so, I’m afraid that it is going to have its luxury/performance-car lunch eaten before noon by the Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X. (I know, they’re in the wrong order, but I think that’s the order for which will have the most impact on BMW.)

Coming back to the BMW news of the day, here are some more hot stats from a recent BMW press release (h/t Mike Millikan):

  • 4,504 global BMW battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in April 2016.
    That’s 2.5% of BMW’s global auto sales in April (179,285), or ~1 out of 40 BMW sales.
  • 1,854 BMW i3 sales in April 2016.
    That’s 50.7% more than April 2015.
  • 2,181 BMW i sales in April 2016.
    That’s 29.4% more than April 2015.
  • 1,196 BMW X5 xDrive 40e plug-in hybrid sales in April 2016.
    That’s ~10% of all BMW X5 sales.

Furthermore, the press release about BMW Group’s global sales led with a picture of the BMW i3, the only picture in the release. That’s saying something.

Though, note that BMW’s press release for US and North America sales didn’t mention BMW i or X5 xDrive 40e sales at all. As you can see in the charts and tables below that I created*, however, plug-in vehicles actually represent much larger portions of BMW’s overall sales in North America, including 8.7% of total BMW Group sales on the continent, or 1 out of every 11.5 sales.

BMW Global Sales % of Group Sales % of BMW Brand Sales BMW North America Sales % of Group Sales % of BMW Brand Sales % of BMW Passenger Car Sales
BMW X5 xDrive 40e 1,196 0.7% 0.8% 670 2.3% 2.7% 3.8%
BMW i3 1,854 1.0% 1.2% 881 3.0% 3.5% 5.0%
BMW i 2,181 1.2% 1.4% 1021 3.4% 4.1% 5.7%
Plug-In Vehicles 4,504 2.5% 3.0% 2,597 8.7% 10.4% 14.6%
BMW Passenger Cars 17,786
BMW Brand 150,542 24,951
All BMW Group 179,285 29,747

If you decide to just look at BMW brand or even BMW passenger car sales, you obviously get better percentages for plug-in cars:

  • 3% of BMW brand sales globally were plug-in vehicles in April, or approximately 1 out of every 33 vehicles sold.
  • 10% of BMW brand sales were plug-in vehicles in April, or approximately 1 out of every 10 vehicles sold.
  • 15% of BMW passenger car sales were plug-in vehicles in April, or approximately 1 out of every 7 vehicles sold.

Looking at things in these ways, one can more easily see BMW making a shift to electrified vehicles … presuming it can get competitive with the top dog in this dog park.

Photo by Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0), via CleanTechnica.pics

*With estimates of 10 sales of the BMW i8 and 13 sales of the BMW X5 xDrive 40e in Canada, and all other numbers official.


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.



  • Vishwas Patil

    Why the basic car design is not changed? The car in future will be of 4-6 smart wheels and touch screen control board. Then, the length can be half and can afford more height as the battery stack at foot level will bring down the centre of gravity. The doors can be different. I’m sure the car after a decade will be totally different. Even wheels may vanish!

    • Jobin Eram

      We need to have tires that last 300k and no need to replace fluids and you will have a car that will need exactly 0 maintenance over its lifetime.

  • hybridbear

    I’m doing a weekend test drive of the i3 right now & it is a huge disappointment. It will be removed from my list of EVs that I’m considering to replace my Focus Electric when its lease ends.

    • Interesting. I’m curious to hear what you don’t like about it.

  • omar

    As EV manufacturing process so easy and simple alot of new car makers will apear and alot of convensional makers will desapear by bankrapticy because they will not be able to beleive what hapening

    • i wouldn’t call it easy & simple. some parts of it are, but doing the battery packs well is tough, and autonomous driving features are becoming a requirement more and more. a small company could buy ready-made tech from the likes of LG Chem and Mobileye, but they are unlikely to ever get the kind of deals big OEMs can get. I think it’ll be tough for newbies to break into the market, but with big financial backing, there is a door seemingly being left open for Faraday Future, Apple, Google, Atieva, NextEV…. We’ll see.

      • Jenny Sommer

        Mobileye is far from ready made tech. I know people at TTTech building the autonomous system for Audi. Even the Nvidea part isn’t all that ready as Nvidea likes you believe.

      • omar

        Autonomous is is a requirment from both EVs and ICEs and its more easy in EVs as it known that controling curent flow(switshs) is easier than controling liquid flow(valves). For batteries i still believe its easier to pack 2mls of water containing few grams of Li withiut leak (milk company can do it very will) rather than manifucture mobile bearning device(3000 degree celicius) and keep cooling it to prevent evaporate oil (120 degree celicius) circulating nearly. this complexity is why we have fixed number of cars manifacturers for 100 years i think.

        • No, the reason for consolidation of car makers like everything else is corporate markets that reward consolidation.

  • John Moore

    Let me throw out a question here. Is BMW going to be able to sell the i3 when the 3 comes out? Now I know that they have perhaps 2 to 3 years until they are actually selling against a car that is available for purchase and delivery (I’m not counting reservations). But they are going to have had to drop the juice pack by then, aren’t they? It will have to not look like a novelty car by then, won’t it? They will want access to some sort of viable charging network, no?
    Somebody please hazard a guess about what the future for this car looks like. It looks to me like they need to come up with some answers that I haven’t seen yet.

    • Jenny Sommer

      A bigger battery.on top of that it got the option for the range extender.

    • i don’t expect it to sell well. they can maybe bring the range up to 150–200 by then, but if the price is higher than a Model 3, the range is still less, there’s no Supercharging, and there’s much less space in the vehicle, i don’t see people buying these outside of a few people in an extreme niche.

      the good news is that used ones should sell for great prices, allowing more people to join the EV fold and enjoy a fun little car!

      • Jozef77

        the model 3 only exists on paper. the i3 is real.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Hi, Rip!

          Have a nice nap? You should take a little time and catch up on what happened while you were snoozing.

          Let me introduce you to the Tesla Model 3….

          .

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