For the past few years, BMW claims to be leading the electrification of the auto industry (see image above), but it has a murky way to make this claim by using the term ‘electrified vehicle,’ which is becoming increasingly popular among legacy automakers.

Now, the German automaker is claiming that it has “delivered more than a quarter of a million electrified vehicles.”

We are seeing an increasing use of the term ‘electrified vehicle.’

Nissan recently used it in the announcement of a new goal to sell 1 million ‘electrified vehicles’ a year by 2022 and Audi did for its plan to sell ‘800,000 electrified cars in 2025’.

These automakers use the term to describe anything from a regular hybrid (HEV) to an all-electric vehicle (BEV). In Audi’s case, they at least specified that ‘most of the cars’ will be all-electric, but in most other cases, it’s far from clear.

In the case of BMW, they claim to be the leader in electrification, but the vast majority of the vehicles that make up their new milestone of ‘over 250,000 electrified vehicles’ are hybrids.

In the first four months of the year, BMW Group Electrified sales totaled 36,692 units, up 41.7% on the same period last year. This considerable growth in electrified sales was spread across many markets, including USA (7,716 / +73.3%), the UK (5,059 / +25.6%) and Mainland China (3,181 / +646.7%). The result in China is due to the success of the recently launched, locally produced BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid. In April, electrified vehicles accounted for 5% of global BMW Group sales, although in certain markets, that percentage is much higher. For example, in the UK, 9.0 % of all BMW Group sales are electrified, in the USA it’s 7.3%. In the mature Scandinavian markets, over a quarter of all BMW Group sales are electrified and in Malaysia, electrified vehicles accounted for more than half of BMW Group sales in April. The main models driving electrified sales growth in April were the BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid (2,670 / +711.6%), the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid (1,578 / +45.8%) (fuel consumption combined: 3,4-3,3 l/100 km; electricity consumption combined: 15,4‑15,3 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 78-77 g/km) and the BMW i3 (2,665 / +18.3%).

The only all-electric vehicle in the ‘electrified group’ is the BMW i3 and it actually also includes sales of the range extender version, which is technically a plug-in hybrid.

While it’s currently not really encouraging on the all-electric front, BMW is promising two new all-electric vehicles to come out in the next two years: the all-electric Mini and the all-electric BMW iX3 SUV.

Electrek’s Take

While I undoubtedly prefer all-electric vehicles over plug-in hybrids, I am not completely against them.

I like PHEVs that can actually result in a decent commute without using gas. The Chevy Volt is a great example – albeit a little expensive for what it is in my opinion.

Aside maybe for Volvo’s, Mitsubishi’s and a few others, most PHEVs, especially those made by German premium brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, barely have enough range for a decent commute and even if they do, the gas engine can kick-in based on several conditions.

This is why I find BMW to be a bit delusional to call themselves a leader in electrification with their current lineup.

I am still quite excited about the all-electric Mini and the all-electric BMW iX3 SUV, but until they can deliver those or even just see a production version, I think they shouldn’t boast about being a leader in electrification by using the electrified vehicle loophole.

Automakers should probably retire that term and be more clear about the differences between HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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