The numbers are in and they show EV sales were up sharply in April, thanks in large part to two electric cars that boast longer range — the BMW i3 and the Renualt Zoe. The i3 now comes with a 33 kWh battery, which is 50% larger than it debuted with a few years ago. Range is now listed at 114 miles as compared to 82 miles for the original. Buyers have responded. Twice as many i3 sedan found new homes in April of this year as did a year ago.
In France, the Renault Zoe, which is a close cousin to the Nissan LEAF, also has a new battery with longer range. Except in base trim, the car now sports a 41 kWh battery and an estimated range of 186 miles in the European testing cycle. That has propelled the Zoe to the top of the sales charts in France and made it a strong seller in many other European countries.
The proof that battery technology is evolving at a rapid pace is that both the new BMW battery and the new Renault battery (sourced from LG Chem) fit in the same space as the smaller batteries the cars came with initially.
BMW is ecstatic about the surge in i3 and i8 sales. “We are therefore well on course to delivering more than 100,000 electrified vehicles for the first time in 2017,” says Harald Kreuger, chairman of the board at BMW. Sales of electrified cars accounted for 3% of BMW’s global business in April.
Sharp eyed readers will notice the chart shown above does not mention Tesla. That is because Tesla does not report sales monthly as the rest of the industry does, nor does it break out sales information by country. Instead it reports global sales on a quarterly basis. For the first quarter of 2017, it said it delivered 25,000 cars — 13,540 Model S sedans and 11,550 Model X SUVs, making it one of the global leaders in electric car sales.