Tesla’s dominant lead in the electric vehicle market is shrinking, according to sales figures released this week by Warren Buffett-backed Chinese automaker BYD.
BYD revealed that it sold a whopping 641,350 “new energy vehicles,” or full-battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, in the first six months of 2022. according to a company presentation. That sales figure marked an increase of about 314% compared to the same period a year earlier.
BYD sold more than 134,000 vehicles in June alone, according to the statement.
By comparison, Elon Musk’s Tesla sold 564,743 vehicles during the first half of 2022, a tumultuous period in which the company struggled to overcome a prolonged shutdown at a key production plant in Shanghai and other supply chain-related disruptions.
Buffett’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway held a 7.7% stake in BYD in April that was worth more than $9 billion. The company spent $232 million to acquire its initial stake in the Chinese firm in 2008.
Musk said in May that he expected some “very strong companies” emerge from China and offer Tesla stiff competition in the electric vehicle sector for years to come.
Yet the Tesla boss and the world’s richest man was dismissive in a 2011 interview when asked about BYD’s product, literally laughing at the idea that it posed competition.
“Have you seen his car? I don’t think they have a great product. I don’t think it’s particularly attractive, the technology isn’t very strong.” Musk told Bloomberg at the time.
The Post has reached out to Tesla for comment.
Tensions between Musk and BYD seemed to have cooled as of June. One of the Chinese firm’s top executives described Musk as a “good friend” and said BYD was ready to supply batteries to the firm “very soon”. Reuters informed.
Both BYD’s full-battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are considered “zero-emission” cars under China’s industry standards, the Financial Times reported. Hybrids use electric batteries as well as complementary motors and traditional fuel sources.
Of the 641,350 vehicles sold by BYD during the first half of the year, more than 314,000 were hybrids. By contrast, all of Tesla’s 564,743 cars sold were full battery electric vehicles, meaning Musk still leads the world in that measure.