Top US Electric Car Brands Are BMW … & Ford? (Aside From Tesla, Of Course)

Originally published on CleanTechnica.

BMW cars with a plug, electric motor, and battery are now approximately 1 out of every 16 BMW USA passenger car sales (6.4% of such sales), based on November’s sales split. That includes sales from 3 fully electric and plug-in hybrid BMW models: the BMW i3, BMW i8, and BMW 330e.


The BMW X5 xDrive 40e was not included in this calculation since it falls under BMW’s “light trucks” category — it accounts for 4.3% of that category’s sales. Overall, that means plug-in cars accounted for 5.55% of all BMW brand sales in the US in November.

BMW, Nissan, and GM are often identified as the Big Auto companies most focused on advancing electric cars in the US. However, it turns out that Ford is the only automaker with an electric car split of ~6% in November (5.91%). That is, unless you count Smart separate from Daimler and include it as a major automaker.

The 2013 Ford Fusion

Here’s a comparison based on November sales (again, this is only for car sales — not trucks and SUVs):

  • Smart = 8.4%
  • BMW Cars = 6.4%
  • Ford Cars = 5.9%
  • BMW Brand = 5.5%
  • Porsche = 4.8%
  • Audi Cars = 4.7%
  • Chevrolet Cars = 4.6%
  • BMW Light Trucks = 4.3%
  • Nissan Cars = 3.0%
  • Volkswagen Cars = 1.2%
  • Toyota Cars = 1.0%
  • Mercedes-Benz = 0.44%.
  • (Tesla = 100%)

Overall, electric car sales accounted for approximately 1.1% of all light-duty passenger vehicle sales in the US in November, but that hides certain key points. One point is that there aren’t even electric vehicle models available in all car classes, and the models available in other car classes are compliance cars. There isn’t a single car class that has a wide variety of models available nationwide.

Another point is that some companies have been much more serious than other companies in their effort to produce and sell plug-in cars. I think BMW, Nissan, Chevrolet, and Ford are the only companies offering their cars nationwide, but that doesn’t mean they are working hard to sell them. Also, although Ford plug-in models are theoretically available everywhere, a friend of the family couldn’t get into one in Southwest Florida — the story the dealer told her and my mom was that they were all going to California.

BMW has been leading the industry (among conventional “Big Auto” companies), as I think the percentage split of total sales helps to show. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the arrival of the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, an updated BMW i3, etc.

One thought on “Top US Electric Car Brands Are BMW … & Ford? (Aside From Tesla, Of Course)

  1. I’ve been tooling around in my new 2017 i3 for a few days now, and was surprised to notice so many other i3s on the road here in eastern Massachusetts; I never noticed them before getting my own. I’ve been really enjoying it, though am beginning to notice some of the “growing pain” challenges of being a (relative) electric early adopter, like the lack of DC chargers around here (the EVgos at the malls are the only ones readily available). But it’s not a big deal and I’m sure things will improve a lot this year.

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