BMW 2nd Only To Tesla In Electric Car Focus?

100% Electric Vehicles

Published on November 7th, 2014 | by Zach


BMW 2nd Only To Tesla In Electric Car Focus?

With Nissan being the world leader in electric car sales, and its CEO amd Chairman (Carlos Ghosn) being bullish on electric car sales for years, we often put it and Tesla at the top when it comes to electric car leadership. However, new data show that BMW is perhaps now #2 behind Tesla.

Looking at the past three months (August, September, and October), when BMW was producing more of the BMW i3 thanks to good consumer demand in the US, the BMW i3 accounted for almost 5% (4.93%) of BMW’s US car sales (as well as 3.85% of all BMW US sales).

BMW i3 sales

Electric cars on the whole account for less than 1% of US car sales. Nissan has this year seen 2.1% of its car sales coming from the Nissan LEAF. Ford has seen 0.9% of its car sales coming from plug-in models (the Ford Fusion Energi, Ford C-Max Energi, and Ford Focus Electric). And GM has seen 0.7% of its sales come from plug-in cars. Of course, 100% of Tesla sales come from 100% electric cars.


Clearly, aside from Tesla, BMW is a step above the others. Even if you include the first three months of BMW i3 sales in the US, when things were just getting rolling, and as you can see in the chart above, sales were much lower than in the last three months, the i3 accounted for 2.3% of BMW car sales, as Green Car Reports.

Interestingly, Tesla’s Chief Designer, Jerome Guillen, recently said in an interview that, aside from Tesla, he is probably most impressed in BMW’s electric vehicle program.

Here’s a look at more BMW numbers, from BMW via Green Car Congress: “In October, the i3 outsold the 1/2 Series (672 units); the Z4 (198 units); and the 6 Series (740 units). The 3/4 Series is still dominant in US sales, with 13,621 units in October, followed by the 5 Series, with 4,914 units.”

Worldwide, BMW sold over 10,000 BMW i3 EVs in the first three quarters of 2014, as well as 341 BMW i8 PHEVs from June through September. Worldwide, the BMW i3 and BMW i8 only represent 0.8% of its car sales.


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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in as a portion of his retirement strategy. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • Kyle Field

    Nissan made a much bolder move into the market by 1) jumping in early and 2) building an affordable EV for the everyday buyer. The photos of the alleged next gen leaf are taking the design more mainstream which I believe is a good option. BMW went a different route, with a design that calls out to be noticed which is in line with luxury car buyers. They are willing to pay a premium literally just for the brand…to be noticed so that works for them. Nissan doesnt have the same appeal imho so a mainstream design should fly better.
    Both were bold and I’m a fan of both…just pulling for Nissan to make a larger impact due to their broader appeal/lower price point. Accordingly, their sales are higher than BMW (1.3M US Sales in 2013 vs ~400k US Sales for BMW US).

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