Sales in the United States of BMW electric cars jumped in August, inching closer or, depending on whom you ask, even surpassing sales of Tesla Motors luxury Model S sedan.
The continued success of BMW’s i3 model, which sells for about $41,000 in the U.S., could pressure Tesla and dampen enthusiasm for its Model 3, Tesla’s mass-produced car that is expected to hit the road within the next two or three years. The Model 3 would carry a sticker price of about $35,000.
Tesla last week said it chose Nevada as the site of its battery factory, expected to churn out more and cheaper batteries -- enough to power Tesla’s through its expansion into the mass market.
Tesla shares rose on intraday and closing records of $291.42 and $286.04, respectively, on Thursday. The stock was hit by profit-taking — and comments by CEO Elon Musk, who called Tesla shares “kind of high” — on Friday.
BMW sold 1,025 BMW i3s in August, according to industry and analyst reports, up from less than 400 units in the previous three months. The car was launched in the U.S. in May.
Tesla’s Model S sales in August were estimated at around 1,600 by Autodata Corp, 18% lower year-on-year. Tesla does not release monthly car sales.
Tesla is expected to launch the next vehicle in its line up, the crossover Model X, next year.
Back in May, analysts at Barclays flagged BMW’s electric-car offerings — which include the more expensive, sporty hybrid plug-in i8 — as a threat to Tesla. Tesla’s target audience is likely sandwiched between the i3 and the i8 models, the analysts said.