Figures for the first quarter of 2022 show that German premium carmakers are gaining momentum in sales of fully electric cars, with BMW doubling and Mercedes tripling the numbers. In absolute numbers, the 35 289 BMW BEVs (+149,2%) and 21 900 Mercedes BEVs (+210%) are being dwarfed by Tesla’s 310 048 deliveries in Q1.
Still, BMW sold a total of 596 907 BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce vehicles in that first quarter, some -6,2% less than in the same period the year before. Mercedes delivered 501 600 cars, of which 495 200 passenger cars declined by 15%. It shows Tesla is still in pursuit as a global carmaker but gaining terrain, up 68% year-over-year.
Highly volatile environment
“In a highly volatile environment, the combined effects of the geopolitical situation in Eastern Europe and the Covid-19 lockdowns in China overshadowed business development as the quarter progressed. Nevertheless, the company absorbed these impacts well overall,” BMW says. That goes more or less for all three, especially Tesla.
The latter just opened two new gigafactories in Berlin (Germany), and Austin (Texas) and is ready to double its output and grow to two million vehicles annually. Tesla’s continuing success underlines the importance of the fully electric car in future automotive sales. And that’s something that is seeping through in European carmakers’ board rooms.
Embracing new reality
BMW was among the first to embrace the new reality with its i3, but coming under steam now with the introduction of the BMW iX and BMW i4, which will soon be available in markets worldwide. Exact figures about the number of plug-in hybrids BMW didn’t release.
In 2022, the company aims to more than double its sales of fully-electric vehicles over the whole year. “This year already, including pre-series vehicles, the company will have 15 fully-electric models in production – serving around 90 percent of its current segments,” the press release states.
The i4, iX, and MINI Cooper SE are joined by four high-volume BMW model series: the BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series, the BMW X1, and the BMW X3. The new BMW 7 Series will also play a vital role with the launch of the BMW i7.
Mercedes catching up
At Mercedes-Benz, sales of BEVs were driven by the EQA, EQS, and the EQC, but the carmaker doesn’t give any exact figures. The launch of the new EQS SUV on April 19th will further accelerate BEV sales in 2022.
Plug-in hybrids set a new first-quarter record with 45 900 (+8%). The Mercedes-Benz electric portfolio (BEV including Smart and plug-in hybrids combined) now amounts to a share of 15% of new car sales.
At Tesla, it’s easier to differentiate between the different models sold. However, it won’t give separate figures for its ‘budget’ Model 3 and Model Y or the high-end S and X models. Models 3/Y accounted for 295 324 deliveries (up 62%) in Q1, Models S/X for 14 724 (up 625%). That astronomic growth figure for the latter is explained by production being halted partially in 2021 for the models to be upgraded.