BYD has surpassed Tesla in quarterly BEV sales, and by a lot. I wrote about this expected crossover point 4 days ago, so I’ve already said a lot about it which you can read there (and included a lot of pictures of different BYD cars that you can look at to understand how BYD sells so many electric vehicles) — and there’s a long, engaging discussion down in the comment thread on that article. However, we have official data for Q4 2024 now, and the sales crossover isn’t just confirmed — it’s big.
In the 4th quarter of 2023, Tesla sold (aka delivered) 484,507 electric vehicles. In the same quarter, BYD sold 526,409 full battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). That’s right, we’re not talking plugin vehicles — BYD passed up Tesla in plugin vehicle sales a long time ago and stands far out on its own in that category. We’re talking 100% battery-electric vehicles, and BYD is the new king. In fact, BYD had nearly 10% more BEV sales than Tesla — it had more than 40,000 more sales than the US EV giant — so it wasn’t even close.
Without a doubt, I’m a huge fan of Tesla and we should all be in huge appreciation of how Tesla has pushed the industry forward. (Disclosure: I own shares of Tesla, and I don’t own shares of BYD.) But BYD has done a better job in recent years of expanding its model lineup, scaling up production, and achieving more sales. I’m not interested in the “But, but, but …” arguments of some narrow-minded Tesla fans. BYD doesn’t just build cheap EVs, and it doesn’t just sell to the Chinese market. BYD now designs and produces various extremely compelling electric cars for the middle class. It sells vehicles in Europe, in Mexico, in South America, in Africa, across Asia, and in Australia. It has a much broader and more diverse model lineup than Tesla. And that is surely part of the reason why it has surpassed Tesla.
Within China, Tesla does very well. It’s actually where Tesla sells the most vehicles. BYD doesn’t even sell electric cars in the USA, in part due to restrictive trade barriers. I’d love to see how BYD does in the US if it finally enters this market in the coming years. I’m also curious to see how BYD grows in Europe, where it is just starting to get some legs underneath itself.
In the meantime, a global sales ranking is a global sales ranking, and BYD is now #1. This is a well deserved win for a company that has put in the work for over a decade and has fine-tuned a very successful approach to developing, rolling out, and selling new electric vehicle models. Let’s see what happens in 2024. BYD may never look back, or the two biggest BEV producers in the world may trade places a few times due to shifting pros and cons by the season. Any predictions?
Here are interactive versions of the charts above for more fun:
Featured image courtesy of BYD
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