2015 BMW i8, test drive in greater Los Angeles area, Apr 2014Enlarge Photo
Sometimes we read things that just make us scratch our heads.
Often, statements about the electric-car industry by (presumably) highly-paid analysts in the finance industry are among those things.
2014 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car owned by Tom Moloughney - in dealership showroomEnlarge Photo
Take, for example, a statement by one such analyst, contained an article published two weeks ago in Forbes by British journalist Neil Winton.
The essential thesis of the piece, based on interviews with several analysts, is that BMW's program of "i" vehicles that run partly or fully on battery power--led off by the 2014 BMW i3 and the 2015 BMW i8--will be expensive.
Some of the analysts argue, however, that BMW's range of i vehicles will have a significant effect on the average carbon output of its overall vehicle line--it will fall considerably--and the whole program will prove in the long run to have been a very smart investment.
The statement that brought us to a dead stop came from one Arndt Ellinghorst, analyst with International Strategy and Investment of London.
2013 Tesla Model S with owner Bruce Sharpe in CanadaEnlarge Photo
“BMW is the only carmaker globally, next to Tesla," Ellinghorst said, "taking e-mobility as an opportunity to build a business rather than just defensively using it to improve fleet average fuel economy."
Oh, because there's this one other company that has spent much of the past decade preparing to build and sell more electric vehicles than any other carmaker, in a well-funded and very serious effort to become the dominant and most advanced maker of plug-ins on the planet.
Hint: It's sold more plug-in electric vehicles globally than Tesla or BMW--in fact, more than those two companies combined, along with Toyota and Ford added in for good measure.
Know which company we're describing?
2014 Nissan Leaf, Bear Mountain, May 2014Enlarge Photo
That would be Nissan, which has now sold 110,000 Leafs globally and is working toward sales of 10,000 electric vehicles a month by the end of the year.
And it fully intends to make them a profitable business line. As soon as possible.
No analyst worth his salt can ignore Tesla, and BMW is a major European company. In our view, certainly Ellinghorst's statement applies to Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai-Kia, and Volkswagen--as well as hydrogen fuel-cell proponents Honda and Toyota.
But it's absurd to apply to Nissan.
Still, one might think that a London-based analyst might have thought to include the company that's built more electric cars than any other carmaker on earth.
The company, in fact, that is now building Leafs (and their lithium-ion battery packs) just 270 miles north of his London offices, in Sunderland, England.
Just an oversight, we're sure.