Chinese automaker BYD has officially snatched the crown off of Tesla’s head, claiming the title of world’s leading EV producer, according to the company’s own filings. Is this true?
The news came after those published figures were posted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. BYD Auto, which stands for ‘Build Your Dreams’ if you deconstruct its acronym, has claimed to have sold 641,350 ‘new energy’ vehicles in the first half of 2022.
This is a staggering 314.9% increase from its sales figures compared to what was posted at the end of H1 2021. By comparison, over the past 2 quarters, Tesla sold some 564,743 cars.
However, here comes the spin. Tesla’s range of models since its inception has been 100% fully electric passenger cars, but that does not also apply to BYD. Of that massive volume of 641k cars sold so far in 2022, the Shenzen-based automaker sold 323,519 vehicles that were fully electric (BEVs).
BYD had also been producing its own combustion engines up until March 2022 when they doubled down on a fully zero-emissions strategy. Besides this, the company also produces commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks, and even forklifts and it’s unclear how much of this was factored into the final published figure.
The remainder of their cars is comprised of other types of powertrains which, though electrified such as plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), are not classified as battery electric (passenger) vehicles in parity with those offered by Tesla, who reportedly might have produced/sold even more vehicles in 2022 if not hindered by production delays at their new Gigafactory in Shanghai.
This was the US EV-maker’s third ‘Gigafactory’ and was responsible for roughly 50% of its 2021 production volume globally, which suffered a 22-day shut down in May due to a pre-emptive city-wide COVID-19 lockdown. Once production was resumed, it faced many supply chain issues to the worsening parts and semiconductor shortages.
BYD, on the other hand, seems to be going from strength to strength and are currently China’s largest domestic automaker. Partially funded by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, the automaker’s shares have leaped by 36% since January 2022 with a market capitalisation approaching 1 trillion Chinese yuan.
They plan to aggressively pursue expansion outside of China with a European and North American sales network rapidly taking form. If they weren’t able to technically dethrone Tesla in the global EV production/sales race just yet, it seems to only be a matter of time before they do.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.