Powering up: BYD sales overtake Tesla in Q3 2023
Despite not being a household name just yet, Chinese EV maker BYD managed to dethrone Musk’s Tesla as the world’s best-selling EV brand in 2023’s final quarter. So how did they do it? And which EV marque will snatch pole position in this year’s race for sales supremacy?
For many, Tesla has become the quintessential electric automaker. And for good reason: the Texan giant has led the way when it comes to styling, innovative technology, and bang, or perhaps, buzz, for your buck. But as anyone with some business acumen will attest, it can be dangerous to rest on your laurels – especially when the EV waters are now teaming with challengers.
And, of those competitors most hungry for success, BYD has taken the lead in recent sales rankings. Managing to shift a record 526,000 BEVs in the closing months of 2023, BYD has experienced truly explosive growth which even Tesla has struggled to keep pace with – the American automaker managed to deliver 484,000 BEVs over the same period.
On face value, it might seem unlikely for such a left-field rival to ride up the outside and pip Tesla to the post, but if you delve a little more deeply things start to become clearer. Contrary to popular belief, BYD isn’t some niche Chinese start-up devised by a businessman with more money than sense. In fact, as a company, BYD predates Tesla by eight years. And, just as Tesla’s offerings have come a long way since the original Roadster, so too have BYD’s.
Need new electric vehicle tyres?
Enter your registration and postcode and we’ll show you the best tyres for your EV
It’s easy to see why buyers are lapping up Shenzen’s latest offerings. Take the Seal, for example, which is broadly comparable to Tesla’s Model 3. In its most basic ‘Design’ guise, the rear-wheel drive Seal boasts more horsepower than the equivalent Model 3, an almost identical 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds, and a quoted range that’s around 10 miles longer than the Tesla, at 354 miles.
Ah, but BYD can’t compete with Tesla when it comes to electric supercars, we hear you say. Well, actually, those who keep a close eye on the world of EV exotica will have spotted last year’s unveiling of BYD’s Yangwang performance sub-brand. With breathtaking new models to flaunt – including the gorgeous U9 hypercar – Tesla’s much promised, yet still undelivered Roadster, should be worried.
Will BYD continue to soar in the sales rankings? No one knows for sure, however the Chinese brand shows no signs of slowing, with some of the world’s sharpest financial minds keeping a close eye on its performance.
Tesla still technically rules the roost for the most annual EV sales. Yet, as new competition arrives thick and fast from China, legacy logos, and even burgeoning Vietnamese brands, has the time come for a switch in electric power? Watch this space.
Hero image credit: BYD