Among the established German luxury automakers, BMW has so far shown the greatest commitment to electric cars.

It launched the "i" sub-brand dedicated to plug-in cars in 2013, and continues to sell the i3 electric city car and i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupe.

BMW has also rapidly expanded the number of plug-in hybrids based on existing models in its lineup.

DON'T MISS: BMW crosses sales of 100,000 plug-in electric cars

The automaker has now set an ambitious goal to expand sales of these vehicles rapidly in the next year.

BMW expects to sell 100,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids in 2017, CEO Harald Krueger said during a press event last week in Munich, as reported by Automotive News (subscription required).

That goal, which echoes comments Krueger made in an interview with German publication Suddeutsche Zeitung last month, represents a massive potential increase in sales of plug-in cars.

2017 BMW 330e i Performance

2017 BMW 330e i Performance

It would mean shifting the same amount of electric cars and plug-in hybrids BMW has sold in the past three years in just one year.

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 last month.

The sales boost is part of what BMW calls "Phase 2" of its electrification strategy, which has the ultimate goal of making plug-in cars 15 to 25 percent of the automaker's global sales volumes by 2025.

ALSO SEE: BMW will electrify its regular cars; what happens to 'i' models?

Krueger said BMW will continue to invest in the "i" sub-brand, although the automaker is no longer committed to offering plug-in electric powertrains only in dedicated models offered through that brand.

The i3 is the only all-electric car BMW currently sells. Along with the range-extended REx variant, it accounted for about 60,000 sales through November.

BMW is now expected to launch all-electric versions of the X3 crossover and an unspecified Mini model as well.

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e

The only other "i" model currently on sale is the i8 plug-in hybrid, although BMW does have at least three more "i" models in the works.

These include a convertible version of the i8, and electric flagship luxury sedan codenamed "iNext," the other is a rumored extended-range electric crossover, likely called i5.

MORE: New 2017 Mini Countryman, including plug-in hybrid: 'biggest Mini yet'

In the U.S., BMW currently offers plug-in hybrid versions of the 3-Series and 7-Series sedans and X5 crossover, branded "i Performance."

Use of the "i Performance" tag is meant to tie plug-in hybrids based on existing models to the i3 and i8.

2017 BMW 530e iPerformance

2017 BMW 530e iPerformance

BMW also offers plug-in hybrid versions of the 2-Series Active Tourer and X1 crossover in Europe and China, 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.

Plug-in hybrid versions of the 5-Series sedan and Mini Countryman crossover will launch soon as well.


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