Despite a report to contrary, Tesla is still the world’s number one electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer – though it recorded its first sales dip in several years thanks in large part to the two-month COVID lockdown of Shanghai.
Chinese automaker BYD sold 641,000 vehicles during the first half of 2022. This was erroneously reported by the Financial Times, amongst others, as meaning it had become “world’s biggest electric vehicle producer by sales”.
While BYD’s first-half total sales did best Tesla (564,000) by 13 per cent during the same period, it should be noted BYD currently sells both pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, whereas Tesla is exclusively a pure electric vehicle manufacturer.
According to earlier figures released by BYD, the Chinese firm sold 4635 ICE vehicles in the first quarter (January to March). In March BYD’s sales were split evenly between plug-in hybrids and pure EVs.
BYD made its last non-electrified vehicle in March this year, and confirmed in April that it would no longer make cars solely with internal-combustion engines (ICE).
The company’s sales target for 2022 is 1.5 million cars. With supply chain problems and the possibility of local COVID lockdowns in various parts of China, it’s unclear if the Warren Buffett-backed firm will reach its lofty goal.
Even if it falls short, 2022 will be a year of tremendous growth for the firm. In 2021 BYD sold 600,000 electrified (EV, PHEV and hybrid) vehicles — a figure it has already surpassed halfway through this year.
Last month BYD’s market capitalisation overtook that of Volkswagen, making it the world’s third most valuable automaker.
Right now BYD’s market capitalisation stands at US$132 billion ($190 billion), behind Tesla on US$712 billion ($1 trillion) and Toyota on US$212 billion ($305 billion).
Volkswagen’s share price has fallen 30 per cent in the last month, and its market cap is now just US$88 billion ($127 billion)
In addition to this, BYD is looking to becoming a major force as a supplier, and will soon begin shipping lithium-ion battery packs to Tesla for its Model 3 sedans and Model Y crossovers.