BMW steps up electric sales target as regulation and fines loom

BMW AG plans to increase sales of electric and plug-in hybrids by 30 percent every year until 2025, prompting the carmaker to accelerate the rollout of battery models.
Photo: Ritzau Scanpix/Matthias Schrader
Photo: Ritzau Scanpix/Matthias Schrader

The German manufacturer moved up a goal of offering 25 electric and plug-in hybrid cars by two years to 2023, it said Tuesday, following plans by other carmakers like Volkswagen AG to keep up with tightening regulation. This puts BMW on a trajectory to sell roughly 700,000 electrified vehicles by 2025.

BMW is "moving up a gear" on electric cars, expecting to see "a steep growth curve toward 2025," Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger said in a statement.

Carmakers in Europe are preparing for the start of tough regulations on carbon dioxide fleet emissions that'll be phased from next year. Failure to meet the reduction exposes manufacturers to steep fines, and automakers are battling rising fleet emissions due to demand for larger sport utility vehicles and consumers buying fewer diesel cars. Diesels emit about a fifth less CO2 than equivalent gasoline vehicles.

BMW currently offers one battery-powered vehicle, the i3 city car, which it started selling in 2013. It is adding an electric Mini later this year. The company sold 142,000 electric and plug-in vehicles last year, a rise of 38 percent to make up about 6 percent of total deliveries. Demand this year has slowed, rising about 2 percent through May.

Other carmakers have also increased targets for electric vehicles in recent months. Daimler AG in May said that more than half of its Mercedes-Benz brand cars would be plug-in hybrid or electric variants by 2030, while Volkswagen plans to sell more than 1 million purely electric cars by 2025.

BMW on Tuesday also announced it would only buy electricity from renewable energy sources from 2020 onward for all its locations.

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