BMW i3
Douglas Stansfield's picture

BMW I3 Blows away the Nissan Leaf in latest sales figures

Data released today show that the September sales of the BMW I3 were 1710 compared to the Nissan Leaf that sold only 1247 cars during the same period. This is the first month this year that the BMW I3 bested the all-electric Nissan Leaf.

The surprising increase could be for a variety of reasons. The buyers could be looking for an optional Range Extender that is only available on the I3 compared to the Nissan Leaf. It is estimated now that 60% of BMW I3s are sold with the Range Extender and 40% are sold entirely as electric-only models. The I3 Range Extender only holds a little less than 2 gallons of gas and can go about 72 miles or so on gasoline power. There has also been a recent software hack that allows I3 Rex Owners to put more gas into the very small tank. It's estimated to be about ½ gallon extra. That could mean an extra 20 miles so it could put the I3 in gas mode up to 92 miles of Rex range. This hack has been highlighted in some of the BMW I3 forums.

First BMW i3 Police Car in Los Angeles

On the other hand, it could be that Nissan Leaf buyers are waiting for the next model year advance in battery technology which is estimated to be over 300+ miles of all-electric range. There are only a little over 2600 2015 Nissan Leaf’s left in the USA at the dealers so consumers could be waiting for the 2016 model year and the new 30 kWh battery pack option and 107 mile EV Range.

Another potential motivating factor could be something very basic indeed. After searching for a reason for the rise in BMW I3’s at this point, I uncovered that there have been regional training sessions for the participating BMW dealers. The additional training was intended to stress the importance of Electric Vehicles and the best way to help the BMW client advisors to explain these benefits to consumers. Additionally, the BMW client advisors are also receiving an extra bonus for each I3 they sell. If I3s help the sales people to make more money I would assume that helps sales. There is a high correlation between incentivizing sales people and having higher sales rates. Other car companies might want to do the same thing.

As of today, Ford and Porsche have not reported their EV sales yet so a follow-up story will be to cover the overall sales of EVs during the month of September.

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It's all about incentives. The i3 has a huge discount and 0% financing deal going on (or did, I don't know if it's ended yet). The LEAF had something similar, but it ended mid-month. These same incentives, both from the companies and from government, by the way, are why EVs have such pitifully low resale values.
Amen brother.
I bet the Beemer is a nice car. My Leaf is the finest, quickest, toughest, best built sports car I ever owned. Free to drive. Beats the heck out of my 1988 Mazda GTX, 1992 300ZX, 1994 300ZX, 1996 300ZX, 1998 Mazda Miata. The Leaf is quicker, more fun to drive, and better cornering than any of them.
The problem is that nobody ever mentions that some sales are tied to HOV plates. You can't get HOV plates in Arizona for any hybrid cars, only full electric. That is why we and a couple other people we know got Leafs instead of Volts. In addition, with the right lease, the lowest cost Leaf or even a used one for $10-$12, is actually cheaper for us per month to drive than the gas equivalent.
We were going to get an i3 the other weekend but got delayed. The lease rate just dropped to $269 and the down was reduced by $500. glad we waited. We originally did not consider an i3 but the 2016 Volt is not available in my state and the local dealers know it and will not deal on a 2015. I can't get a 2016 Volt or Leaf yet so the i3 was the last choice.
Love my LEAF, and I drive it for free from solar panels on my roof. About midway though a 3-year lease. The most fun driving ever, so zippy and agile. I can't wait to upgrade to the 2016 LEAF. It's like with digital photography: it's just a-coming and there is no going back. Our other car is a second-hand Plug-In Prius. Most days we only drive electric--and for free.