By on November 14, 2016

BMW i3 and i8

BMW has announced to the world that it wants to increase electric vehicle sales to 100,000 units next year — choosing a figure that is hypothetically possible while remaining statistically unlikely.

Taking all bets.

Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung (via Automotive News Europe) says BMW is planning on a big increase in sales for plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles. The company wants to see 100,000 electrified units rolling off dealer lots next year.

Harald Krüger, BMW’s Chief Executive Officer, says the company is on point to deliver 60,000 hybrid and electric cars for this year. However, the Bavarians have only cracked 100,000 electrified units in total between 2013 and now. Meeting next year’s goal would require a sizable upsurge in demand, especially for non-hybrid EVs, something even BMW seems cautiously optimistic about.

“Electromobility will come, but demand is not yet going through the ceiling,” Krüger told Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

That hasn’t kept BMW from investing in its electric future. The company has hybrid powertrains available for the 3 and 7 Series, and also offers the entirely electric i3. Still, the i3 hasn’t exactly been a sales dynamo. The little i3 only garnered about 25,000 sales worldwide last year. A lot of those purchases came from the United States, but interest has also diminished this year.

To make the i3 more appetizing, BMW has recently given it a higher density battery and an improved range — something it desperately needed to keep up with more affordable competitors like Nissan’s Leaf.

With the i3 as the company’s only all-electric and its stable of hybrids remaining fairly modest, especially in America, BMW is going to be facing some serious competition. Not only that, other premium automakers are gearing up to roll out EVs in the near future. Mercedes-Benz has created the EQ sub-brand to rival BMW’s currently minuscule i Series lineup. Audi has hinted at big things from its new e-Tron vehicles and Volkswagen is promising to turn the whole world electric by introducing 30 new electric cars before 2025.

Meanwhile, BMW has an electric sub-brand consisting of an extremely low-volume borderline concept car hybrid and a city EV that people seem only marginally interested in. There is a lot of electric noise coming out of Germany overall but BMW doesn’t seem to be in a better place than other manufacturers to make things happen — especially this year. Its best bet for the rest of this decade would be to start sneaking in more hybrids powertrains into popular selling models and get that Mini EV finished as soon as possible.

[Image: BMW Group]

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14 Comments on “Aiming Really High: BMW Wants 100,000 Electric Sales for 2017...”

  • avatar

    With gas well below 2 bucks/gal and dropping, it will be a real challenge here in the US.

    • 0 avatar

      I think demand for the model 3 has shown that there is EV demand for reasons other than fuel savings.

      I with the i3 (or the Bolt) were in a form factor I’d actually like. If BMW released a 3 or 4 series EV? Then I’d take notice, andI’d wager the 100k mark would be reachable.

    • 0 avatar

      It will indeed be a big challenge here in the US, and the Chevy Bolt will make it especially tough. I suspect that the electric car market will be different in that people who buy BMW gas cars and would never consider a GM vehicle (let alone a Chevrolet) will look at the i3 and Bolt on more equal terms.

      Perhaps we can thank Tesla for that in that they introduced a new American brand to upend normal perceptions. And now Chevrolet designs and engineers an electric mini-SUV that appears to have good ride, handling, braking and go-fast characteristics at which GM is the leader among mainstream manufacturers.

      Meanwhile, BMW had those sweet gasoline motors that no one could quite match. Kiss that advantage goodbye with electric power. So, now why buy a BMW electric? Not for the motor, nor the ride, nor the design. The BMW fan-boys just went pop!

  • avatar

    The i3 and i8 are both specialist cars with a limited potential market. If BMW wants to generate significantly more electric vehicle volume I’d think that something more mainstream may be called for.

  • avatar

    I’d guess that Trump and his Republican buddies will retract the electric car rebate. If so the electric car value will be less, especially at these gas prices.

    • 0 avatar

      If battery costs keep dropping like they are, they’ll be cheaper than gas cars even without tricks like tax credits or factoring in total cost of ownership (fuel, oil changes, etc). After all why wouldn’t they? There’s thousands of fewer parts in these EVs. It’s the scarce batteries that are the problem.

  • avatar

    Is it April 1?

  • avatar

    Then BMW either needs to give them away, or fix all of its EVs’ glaring faults with ridiculously short ranges, ridiculously long charging times and ridiculously high prices. If it can’t do that, and is not willing to give away the EVs, it should withdraw them from the market.

  • avatar

    But if we like keep drilling for more electricity the earth will like eventually run out of it, right? That’s why I support sustainable alternatives like sunshine and maybe smaller like gas tanks. But can’t talk now, on my way to the campus safe space.

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