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New report reveals how China’s BYD topped Tesla as world’s bestselling EV maker: ‘No one can match [it]’

So, how did BYD do it?

So, how did BYD do it?

Photo Credit: iStock

Tesla’s Cybertruck may have climbed California mountains late last year, but it was BYD that ascended perhaps the tallest peak. 

Axios reported in early January that the Chinese automaker, which is becoming well-known for its Dolphin electric vehicle, surpassed Elon Musk’s company in global sales. 

BYD sold more than 526,000 EVs in the fourth quarter of 2023. Down the homestretch of the year, Tesla sold more than 484,000. While not enough to top its rival, the total was still up 19.5% from the prior year for Musk’s EV business, all per Axios. 

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So, how did BYD do it? The company’s sales tactic is likely appealing to most buyers: offering low prices. 

“No one can match BYD on price,” per a quote from Dunne Insights analyst Michael Dunne published by Axios. 

BYD vehicles aren’t available in the United States yet, but the pricing abroad is comparatively low in the sector. The Dolphin debuted in Australia earlier this year for about $26,000. The Seagull hatchback is on the market for the equivalent of $11,500, according to Dunne’s comments in Axios. 

The popular Tesla Model 3, by comparison, starts at $38,990. That doesn’t deduct the “probable savings,” which Tesla estimates could be several thousand dollars. 

Both the Model 3 and Dolphin will travel around 270 miles, estimated, on a charge. Axios noted Dunne’s report on the battery tech, and his assessment favors BYD. He said the EV maker has “arguably the world’s most advanced battery.” 

The Axios experts don’t expect BYD to take on Tesla in the luxury sector. The Hollister Hills–climbing Cybertruck is a unique specimen on the roads that reportedly had 2 million preorders before being released late last year, according to InsideEVs. It’s priced at between $60,990 and nearly $100,000, depending on the features. 

Moving forward, EV trends indicate warm waters for the Dolphin, Cybertruck, and other makes, as the International Energy Agency’s estimate for EV sales is encouraging for 2023. The experts there expect totals to hit 14 million EVs sold. 

The 2024 battle for global EV dominance will likely be decided by how well the lower-cost EVs sell, and Axios doesn’t expect the contest to be a factor stateside. 

“Tesla remains the world’s leading seller of premium EVs — and it’s not expected to face BYD in the U.S. anytime soon,” Nathan Bomey and Ben Geman wrote in the report. 

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