According to sales figures released this week by Warren Buffett-backed Chinese automaker BYD, Tesla’s leading lead in the electric vehicle market is waning.
BYD revealed that it has sold as many as 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 file† That sales figure represented an increase of approximately 314% compared to the same period a year earlier.
According to the press release, BYD sold more than 134,000 vehicles in June alone.
By comparison, Elon Musk’s Tesla sold 564,743 vehicles in the first half of 2022 – a tumultuous period as the company struggled to overcome a lengthy shutdown at a major manufacturing plant in Shanghai and other supply chain disruptions.
Buffett’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway held a 7.7% stake in BYD as of April, worth more than $9 billion. The company spent $232 million in 2008 to acquire its first stake in the Chinese company.
Musk said in May that he expected a number of “very strong companies” to come out of China in the coming years that will provide Tesla with stiff competition in the electric vehicle sector.
However, 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 was competing.
‘Have you seen their car? I don’t think they have a great product. I don’t find it 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 appeared to have cooled from June. One of the top executives of the Chinese company described Musk as a “good friend” and said BYD would supply the company with batteries “very soon”. Reuters reported.
By Chinese industry standards, both BYD’s electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are considered “zero emissions” cars, according to the Financial Times. Hybrids use electric batteries as well as supplemental motors and traditional fuel sources.
Of the 641,350 vehicles BYD sold in the first half of the year, more than 314,000 were hybrid. Conversely, all of Tesla’s 564,743 cars sold were full battery electric vehicles, meaning Musk is still the world leader to that extent.