Facing ever-changing regulation and increased competition, BMW AG is setting a global sales target of 150,000 plug-in hybrid and fully-electric vehicles for 2018.

While 150,000 vehicles is a small percentage of a total of 2.4 million delivered in 2016, it would represent a 50 percent increase over the current volume. BMW’s competitors are steadily increasing their offerings while European regulators are clamping down on internal combustion engines.

BMW is currently the largest seller of hybrid and electric cars in Europe. BMW’s goal of increasing this number is from plug-in hybrid and EVs, and not traditional hybrids.

“We’ll definitely boost sales by a mid-double digit amount,’’ said Klaus Froehlich, head of development at BMW.

To reach that goal, BMW not only has to concern itself with the aforementioned competition and regulation, but also consumer demand. Low fuel prices affect sales, and the technology in cars like the i3 (pictured top) decreases overall profit margins.

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To help combat both, BMW is launching several new vehicles in 2018. The 8 Series coupe and the X7 crossover are expensive premium luxury vehicles that’ll generate margin for the company to spend on these development costs. It’s also likely that BMW will offer some sort of electrification in both of those vehicles.

Soure: BMW

Looking to the future, BMW has plans to bring out an EV Mini and add electrification options to current vehicles. Unlike Mercedes-Benz who will create specific models for their EV offerings, equipping current vehicles with batteries helps BMW tailor the output of their EVs to match demand.

If more people want EVs, the company will put more batteries into its cars. If they want fewer EVs, BMW will make less. The approach allows the company to remain flexible and save money in development costs.

While a 50 percent growth on 100,000 cars isn’t as significant as Ford increasing F-Series sales by 50 percent, the commitment to growth of EV sales demonstrates that BMW believes this is the future and it wants to keep its lead in the marketplace.