Tesla may garner much of the buzz surrounding electric cars, but BMW has quietly become a significant challenger in the electric-vehicle sales race.
Nissan, General Motors, and Tesla have all 100,000 to 300,000 plug-in vehicles globally, but this year, BMW and its Mini brand are on track to deliver its own 200,000th plug-in vehicle later this year.
For context, BMW does not count traditional hybrids in what calls its "electrified" lineup, only cars with a plug—so those figures are based on plug-in hybrid models, along with the all-electric i3 and an electric SUV in China.
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Out of the 1.2 million vehicles BMW delivered during the first half this year, 42,573 of them were BMW i, or plug-in BMW iPerformance and Mini electric vehicles.
That represents an 80-percent increase over the same period last year—a drastic jump for a company that has only two dedicated electric cars, as it has since 2013.
From a production standpoint, BMW built a total of 51,725 plug-in cars, slightly ahead of Tesla, which built 51,126 vehicles in the same January-to-June period.
2017 BMW i3
2017 BMW i3
The figures for all makers will rise, including BMW's as it prepares to launch an all-electric variant of its 3-Series sport sedan within the next year or so.
The brand will reportedly show that car at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show and it will boast a range of 200 miles or more.
The 250-mile figure quoted in European news stories is likely based on the NEDC cycle, which means its EPA rating will likely be closer to 200 or 215 miles.
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Following the all-electric 3-Series, an all-electric BMW X3 is expected to surface in 2020.
However, the oft-rumored BMW i5 electric crossover now appears to be defunct.
BMW's strategy has shifted, it seems toward a drive to "normalize" electric cars by offering them within already established nameplates, rather than as the entirely separate lineup of its "i" sub-brand.
2017 BMW 330e i Performance
This differs from the approach taken by rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi, which each plan to differentiate their all-electric models with new nameplates.
BMW's 200,000th electric vehicle will be delivered sometime later this year, which likely puts the brand ahead of General Motors in total plug-in production, though behind Tesla and Nissan.
The Nissan Leaf has been the world's best-selling electric car, and the next-generation 2018 Leaf will debut on September 6.
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Tesla has now delivered more than 200,000 electric cars and Nissan is approaching the 300,000 mark.
GM hovers around roughly 150,000.
These figures will all likely increase at a more rapid pace as the electric-car sales race continues to heat up.