BYD did not overtake Tesla as the world’s biggest EV seller

BYD

Tesla has long been the biggest electric vehicle (EV) maker globally by the number of EVs sold. However, a recent report suggests Tesla has lost that crown to BYD, but a closer look at the details reveals the Chinese automaker still has a ways to go until they overtake Tesla.

BYD (which means Build Your Dreams) ended the first half of 2022 with 641,340 electrified vehicles sold, about 77,000 more than Tesla’s output for the same period which stood at 564,743. According to the Financial Times, this makes BYD the global leader in EV sales.

But the key word in that phrasing is electrified vehicles, as BYD’s tally includes hybrid vehicles, which are considered “new energy vehicles” (NEV) in China, the same category that all-electric cars fall into.

BYD’s sales figures were revealed in company filings with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where it is listed. When you remove the hybrid vehicles included from that count, BYD sold 323,519 purely electric cars, still more than 241,000 units behind Tesla.



Tesla was slowed down in China in the second quarter by lockdown in Shanghai, which hosts its Giga Factory. This single factory accounts for half of Tesla’s global output and was shut for 22 days. Tesla struggled for a while before reaching normal capacity after the lockdown was lifted. It ended the 2nd quarter with 258,580 cars shipped.

In contrast, BYD was able to keep running its own factories because they are located outside Shanghai and other Covid-19 hotspots.

Meanwhile, BYD’s shares have been surging in response to its rising profile in the EV industry. It gained 36 percent since January for a market capitalization of about $149 billion. The Chinese automaker is benefiting from the country’s push to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging its citizens to switch to electric cars.

Tesla is targeting 1.5 million electric cars in 2022 after shipping more than 930,000 units in 2021. More details of the company’s performance will be available during its earnings call on July 20, 2022.