BYD On Track To Lead 2015 Global Plug-In Car Sales

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BYD Coach and Bus Factory in Lancaster, CA | Image Credit: Kyle Field

Here at CleanTechnica, we regularly cover all of the great work BYD is doing — cranking out great electric buses, selling several plug-in hybrid cars in China, and the impressive adoption of the fleet EVs BYD is selling around the world. Today, I am especially excited because we get to see what that production looks like on the global scale, all rolled up. The latest EV-Sales Blogspot update, with January through October sales/registration data and estimates, provides a nice summary of global EV sales. Interestingly, BYD edged out Nissan again in the most recent monthly actuals for January through October 2015, with 43,073 plug-in car sales compared to 42,012 for Nissan.

Business Wire rolled these results up in a great global total by manufacturer for 2015 through October:

Ranking Manufacturer October 2015 2015 YTD *
1 BYD 6,101 43,073
2 Nissan 3,115 42,012
3 Mitsubishi 4,144 36,623
4 Tesla 3,349 36,312
5 VW 3,774 27,755
6 BMW 2,937 25,470
7 Renault 2,568 20,136
8 Kendi 5,081 17,201
9 Ford 1,776 17,117
10 Gotye 2,609 15,384

This is impressive considering BYD took the 7th spot on the list for 2014, and this move really speaks to the feasibility of the BYD masterplan, which, boiled down by order of execution, is: 1) Focus on Fleet Products 2) Deliver Robust Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), and 3) Mass Adoption of All-Electric Vehicles.

BYD chose to focus on fleet markets where buyers are looking at the longer-term total cost of ownership figures and can typically justify a larger upfront purchase price based on lower fuel costs and reduced maintenance requirements. BYD is the third largest electric bus manufacturer in China and continues to make progress in more established mass transit markets abroad, even getting a foot in the door of the mature US market by opening a factory in the southwestern United States.

BYD e6 | Image Credit: Kyle Field

In parallel, the BYD e6, with an impressive 250-mile range in the 2016 model, is being adopted around the world as a taxi and for other fleet applications. In a test drive, I was very impressed at the range for the price and it makes sense that fleet managers across the world are aggressively integrating it into their fleets.

To bridge the gap between today’s current range-limited EVs and low-cost-battery-enabled 200 mile+ EVs, BYD has built up several plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that leverage a smaller battery and motor combined with a gas engine to provide the range that consumers have come to expect from modern passenger vehicles. Almost every two-car household can (and should) take advantage of at least one EV today, but when it comes to going fully electric, it can be challenging to get two affordable EVs that meet the needs of the family without undue burden. My family recently went all-in on EVs by adding a Nissan Leaf to our Mercedes B-Class Electric, and we are now upgrading our Leaf to a Tesla as a result.

BYD e6 and Electric Bus | Image Credit: Kyle Field

Moving into the final phase of the plan, as the lithium-ion battery market takes off (BYD builds custom-blended lithium-ferrous-phosphate-based cells in-house) and BYD is able to further leverage battery production scale and the cost advantages of not having to purchase cells @ wholesale, the plan fully unfolds, positioning BYD for a full-scale attack on the larger passenger car markets with a low-cost EV offering.

The Business Wire press release included a great quote from the BYD Director of Eastern U.S. Business, Lerner-Lam, who shared the BYD perspective on the transition to electric vehicles: “The time has come for electric vehicles, and BYD is ready to meet the growing demand. It’s a very exciting opportunity to take technology that was developed in China—and leveraged and matured in large scale there—and adapt them to American standards, lifestyles and infrastructures.”

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

Kyle Field has 1649 posts and counting. See all posts by Kyle Field