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From Tesla to BYD
Third in line for the Tesla Model 3 in 2016. Photo courtesy Roger Bauche.

Cars

Our Journey from Tesla to BYD

By Roger Bauche, as told to David Waterworth

What do you do when waiting in line at an electric vehicle launch? You swap stories. At the recent BYD launch in Brisbane, Roger and Mary told me the story of their journey from reserving a Tesla Model 3 to purchasing a BYD Atto 3.

On 31 March, 2016, we made a deposit on a Tesla Model 3 at Carindale Shopping Centre, being third in the queue. The car had yet to be unveiled.

From Tesla to BYD

Third in line for the Model 3. Photo courtesy of Roger Bauche.

We subsequently rode in a Model S and experienced Ludicrous Mode. We both, Mary and I, test drove a Model X prior to the arrival of the Model 3 in Australia. We then got a chance to test drive the Model 3. As Mary is vertically challenged, she found the Model 3 not as suitable for driving as the Model X. We then decided to change our order to the upcoming Model Y, an SUV rather than a sedan, which would provide the higher seating for Mary.

From Tesla to BYD

Dreaming on a Tesla Pillow. Photo courtesy of Roger Bauche.

We assumed that the delivery of the Model Y would be imminent after the release of the Model Y in 2020. Our friends in Calgary received delivery at the end of 2020.

By the middle of March 2022, we had had no indication as to when the Tesla Model Y would be available, but we heard that a small SUV from BYD would be available by August. We decided to place an order for the Atto 3 extended range. When the release of the Model Y was made, it was for the Standard Range and the Performance, not the Long Range, which we expected would be around $80,000. The Atto 3 at $47,000 is certainly a big plus even though it may not have all the bells and whistles of the Y.  As well, we placed our order on 19 March, which qualified us for the Queensland government rebate of $3,000.

The benefit of the BYD Blade battery is that it’s virtually noncombustible by all the tests they have done. It can be charged to 100% (recommended at least every 3 months) and can be drained completely with very little degradation. The downside is that it takes 30 to 45 minutes to charge from 20 to 80% whereas Tesla’s charge time is less than half of that.

We have had investments in both Tesla and BYD for approximately 2 years. Both have been good performers. BYD’s growth is steady, currently up 40%, while Tesla has fluctuated wildly, currently up 85% (although, it was 25% in June). Tesla makes all the news while BYD is well under the radar. It’s like the tortoise and the rabbit. BYD’s largest investor is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway with just over 8% ownership. His $232 million investment is now worth $8 billion. [Rumor has it that Buffett is selling his stake in BYD.]

I hope to catch up with Mary and Roger towards the end of the year and hear the happy ending to this story — hopefully satisfaction with both the BYD driving experience and the share performance.

 
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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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