Sales of BMW plug-in cars more than double over last year


2017 BMW i3

2017 BMW i3

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BMW is off to a strong start in meeting its ambitious plug-in car sales goals for 2017.

In the first two months of 2017, it doubled combined sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids over the same period in 2016.

But the automaker will need to keep that momentum up.

DON'T MISS: BMW 740e, X5 xDrive 40e: where do low-range plug-in hybrids fit in?

In December, BMW CEO Harald Krueger said the automaker hopes to sell 100,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids this year.

That would mean selling the same amount of plug-in cars in one year as the company sold in the previous three years.

BMW began sales of the i3 electric car in Europe in November 2013, and only crossed the 100,000-unit mark for all of its plug-in cars put together in November of last year.

2017 BMW 330e i Performance

2017 BMW 330e i Performance

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In January and February of this year, BMW delivered over 10,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids globally.

That's an increase of 110.1 percent over the same period last year, according to the automaker.

Going forward, BMW will at least have a broader lineup of models as it tries to increase plug-in car sales.

ALSO SEE: 2018 BMW 530e 'iPerformance' plug-in hybrid sedan for U.S. unveiled (Dec 2016)

Until recently, that lineup was limited to the "i" models—the i8 plug-in hybrid, and the i3 hatchback, in both all-electric and range-extended REx configurations.

In the U.S., BMW now sells plug-in hybrid versions of the 3-Series and 7-Series sedans, and the X5 SUV as well.

The 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid—a variant of the redesigned 5-Series sedan—will go on sale later this month, followed by the Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4 crossover in June.

2017 Mini Countryman

2017 Mini Countryman

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Adding plug-in variants of existing models seems to be BMW's main focus right now, rather than expanding the "i" sub-brand of dedicated plug-in models.

Outside the U.S., BMW sells a plug-in hybrid versions of the X1 crossover and 2-Series Active Tourer in China and Europe, respectively.

The Active Tourer hatchback is a front-wheel drive model, not to be confused with the rear-wheel drive 2-Series coupe and convertible offered in the U.S.

CHECK OUT: 2019 BMW i5 crossover utility vehicle rendered from patent drawings (Oct 2016)

BMW is also expected to launch all-electric versions of the X3 crossover and an unspecified Mini model in the near future.

The "i" sub-brand likely won't see major sales growth until the arrival of the i5 crossover, which is expected to go into production in 2018 as a 2019 model.

The all-electric i5 will bridge the considerable gap between the i3 and i8, and will likely be the most practical "i" model to date.

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