Spring has sprung it seems, for BMW Group’s electric vehicle division, with the company announcing a bumper April result of a 52 per cent increase in EV sales, taking total numbers of EV sales under its various brands to more than 250,000.
BMW says the sales tally for all its vehicles – electric and internal combustion engine – for the first four months of the year were just short of 800,000 vehicles, a modest rise of just 2.5 per cent.
But sales from the electric vehicle division – including hybrids – were up 41.7 per cent over the same four month period, to a total of 36,692 vehicles.
In the month of April, sales of BMW i, BMW iPerformance and MINI Electric vehicles were up 52 per cent to 9,831, out of total company sales of nearly 200,000 for the month.
“We are delighted to announce that there are now over a quarter of a million electrified BMW Group vehicles on the world’s roads,” said Pieter Nota, a member of the board of management of BMW.
The increase in April was driven by growing interest in BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrids (2,670 / +711.6%), the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid (1,578 / +45.8%) and the BMW i3 (2,665 / +18.3%).
Strong growth in country destinations were recorded in the US (7,716 / +73.3%), and the UK (5,059 / +25.6%).
But China, from a smaller base, recorded a stunning 646% increase in sales, to a total of 3,181 vehicles sold, due to the launch of the locally produced BMW 5 series plug-in hybrid.
The share of EV and hybrid sales was 5 per cent globally in April, with the share reaching more than half of total sales in Malaysia, 25 per cent of total sales in Scandinavia, 9 per cent in the UK and 7.3 per cent in the US.
“We are well on track to deliver on our stated target to sell over 140,000 electrified vehicles this year,” Nota concluded.
Meanwhile, the company appears to be making inroads on autonomous driving technology, announcing on Thursday that it has become the first international automaker to secure a licence to test autonomous vehicles on roads in China.
BMW Group said the Shanghai Intelligent Connected Autonomous Driving Test License marked a big step in the company’s “A.C.E.S.” strategy: Autonomous Driving, Connectivity, E-Mobility and Shared services, while opening the door to a massive potential market.
Autonomous vehicles will “change the future of individual mobility in a revolutionary way,” the automaker said in a statement, “significantly improving the safety and convenience of premium individual mobility.”
“To carry out road tests for the preparation of L4 Autonomous Driving R&D in China, Shanghai is an attractive, innovative city, matching perfectly with BMW Group’s vision of future mobility,” it said.
Bridie Schmidt is staff writer for www.TheDriven.io, and RenewEconomy.com.au. She specialises in writing about new technology, as well as using her technical skills in managing our websites.