Luxury German carmaker BMW is increasingly moving into the electric vehicle (EV) market, to great success. The BMW i3, for example, was named the best EV of 2016 by industry publication Auto Express. BMW recently revealed that it has set itself an ambitious EV goal for 2017.
The brand said that it’s hoping to sell around 100,000 EVs next year. BMW noted that it should be able to hit this figures, which matches the number of EVs it has sold during the last three years collectively, due to a growing range of electric car products and increasing urban emissions regulations.
BMW first entered the EV market three years ago, Auto Express notes, with the launch of Project i. With this initiative, BMW became one of the first brands to commit to producing bespoke EVs and this strategy soon paid off. Under the Project i label, BMW has unveiled the popular i3 as well as the more recent i8. Meanwhile, Project i has also grown to include iPerformance plug-in hybrid editions of the Series 2 Active Tourer and the Series 3, providing BMW consumers with more choice than ever before.
These i lines have sold 100,000 cars during the past three years, so this goal is indeed ambitious. Commenting, BMW’s Board Member for Sales and Marketing, Ian Robertson, said: “The pace of sales growth is accelerating to the point where we can aim for this… This is proving how a lot of the technology from i is moving into the mainstream; iPerformance does that for us. I believe we will have the most comprehensive set of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles of any company in the world.”
It’s important to note that the upcoming release of a plug-in hybrid version of the MINI Countryman and the 530e hybrid could help BMW reach this target. The MINI’s powertrain is basically the same one included in the Series 2 Active Tourer, making it powerful indeed. It’s likely that this will eventually be implemented across BMW’s line-up, including most notably in the small X2 crossover.
Explaining further, Robertson said: “We will continue to work on combustion engines… and mix them with iPerformance technology where suitable, creating new benchmarks in economy and CO2 emissions.” He also countered the popularly-held idea that US President-elect Donald Trump’s opinions on hybrid incentives and climate change could impact the sector’s growth long-term, saying that “some suspect that the US is changing its direction but I doubt it, in the medium to long term.”
Meanwhile, BMW’s EV sales are destined to be bolstered further by the improved battery range on the latest version of the i3. Some beneficial taxation changes in key markets like Norway should also help push sales along. Indeed in the i3 was the Nordic state’s best-selling car outright in November 2016, aided by a raft of benefits which are now applicable exclusively to pure-electric cars and hybrids.
Yes, BMW’s goal is ambitious, but it is achievable. Due to rising awareness over climate change, consumers are becoming increasingly energy conscious. Meanwhile in the wake of the Great Recession, people are still looking to save money wherever possible, so many are turning to more fuel efficient electric and hybrid vehicles. Within this environment, it’s entirely possible that BMW will be able to sell 100,000 EVs in 2017, due to both high demand and their reputation for excellence.
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