Tesla is no longer the world’s largest electric vehicle automaker by volume. BYD, which Elon Musk used to literally laugh at, overtook Tesla in overall battery-electric vehicle volume in Q4 2023.
You might have seen a variation of that headline over a year ago, but it wasn’t as significant as it is today.
Tesla has always been a pure electric, battery-electric, vehicle manufacturer, while most other automakers, including BYD, have dabbled with hybrids, plug-in or not.
BYD’s own vehicle offering has changed a lot over the years and focused more on plug-in hybrids a decade ago.
At that time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk literally laughed off BYD as competition:
But along with its home market in China, BYD has gradually become the biggest player in the world in the electric vehicle space.
In total EV volume (BEVs and PHEVs), BYD has long overtaken Tesla, which had remained king with battery-electric vehicles until now.
In Q4 2023, BYD delivered 526,400 all-electric vehicles compared to Tesla reporting 484,500 vehicles delivered.
Those figures were records for both automakers, but they also mark the first time that BYD sold more BEVs than Tesla in a single quarter.
This was inevitable considering BYD’s presence and offering in its home market of China, which has 1 billion more people than the US, Tesla’s home.
BYD offers more models than Tesla at a wider range of prices, and it has more popular offering at the lower end of the market.
Tesla still finished 2023 with more BEVs delivered for the full year, 1.8 million compared to 1.6 million for BYD, but it sounds like it’s going to be the last year like that.
I am loving the competition between BYD and Tesla. I think Tesla has forced BYD to improve its technology and overall offering while BYD is now forcing Tesla to find a way to raise its volumes.
This is great overall.
Interestingly, they sort of had different approaches where Tesla started up market and it is now going down with the highly-anticipated “$25,000 Tesla, while BYD started down market, and it is now coming out with very cool premium electric vehicles.
Funny how things play out.
Author: Fred Lambert