Tesla's years-long dominance of electric-car sales may soon end as traditional automakers introduce a slew of new battery-powered models, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said.
Tesla delivered almost 500,000 vehicles last year, up 36 percent from 2019. While that growth in the midst of a global pandemic sent Tesla shares soaring, Zipse said Monday that established automakers are countering with more EV offerings.
"It won't be easy for Tesla to continue at that speed because the rest of the industry is moving ahead big time," Zipse said during the DLD All Stars tech conference.
Auto executives rarely make public digs at competitors, so the CEO's remarks reflect new-found self-confidence among traditional manufacturers pouring billions into electrifying their lineups. BMW is adding battery-powered versions of its X1 SUV as well as the 5 Series and 7 Series, and will introduce a new flagship model, the iX.
Tesla said last month it expects to increase vehicle deliveries by about 50 percent annually over multiple years, and that it will grow faster than that in 2021.
BMW's larger peer Volkswagen Group may not be far off from eclipsing Tesla's EV sales this year.
VW plans to at least double the share of its sales that are full electric in 2021, with the high end of its target range suggesting it could come close to Tesla's expected deliveries of at least 750,000 cars.
VW launched its first ID model, the compact ID3 hatchback, in the second half of 2020. By the end of the year, VW had sold more than 54,000 ID3s in Europe, with the model trailing only the Renault Zoe (more than 99,000 sales) and the Tesla Model 3 (more than 85,000 sales) among EVs in the region, according to data from JATO Dynamics.
VW has also launched a second ID model, the ID4, which is the first global EV from the ID family. By 2030, the automaker expects to have built a total of 26 million EVs worldwide.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to start making Model Y crossovers at a plant under construction near Berlin in the middle of this year.