The electric vehicle superstar of the year is China’s BYD, with sales well past a million units and still going strong.
The often asked question is: “Is it already ahead of Tesla?” The answer is yes, and no.
BYD beats Tesla if plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are included along with battery electric vehicles (BEVs). If only pure BEVs are counted, Tesla remains ahead for now.
“BYD shows the advantages of focusing on only one kind of drivetrain – electric,” said Corey Cantor, BloombergNEF’s lead EV analyst.
BYD stopped production of fossil-fuel vehicles in March. Sales outside China are minuscule for now, but that could change soon. The company has been extending its sales network in several Latin America countries, and recently signed a land purchase deal to build an EV production plant in Thailand.
BYD-Tesla EV sales
Nimble startups can ease out older peers from the top EV sellers list. The $5,000 Hongguang Mini BEV catapulted SAIC-GM-Wuling to the top echelons of the EV pack, for instance. Minicars could be the next big thing in urban environments.
“We expect the top sellers ranking to change as competition intensifies. Surprises cannot be ruled out,” said Cantor.
Top EV sellers
Another way of looking at the EV marketplace is by total sales to date. The top three in that ranking currently are Tesla, BYD and Volkswagen. The latter aims to be the largest electric car seller by 2025.
Cumulative EV sales
BNEF expects 10.3 million electric vehicles to be sold in 2022, according to its latest outlook. China and Europe continue to be the leading markets, each accounting for a quarter of global sales. The US market is picking up pace too, as new incentives boost local manufacturing and sales of EVs.
Earlier this week, the Department of Energy awarded a $2.5 billion loan to a joint venture of General Motors and LG Energy Solution – Ultium Cells – to help finance new lithium-ion battery manufacturing plants in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan.
“This loan will jumpstart the domestic battery cell production needed to reduce our reliance on other countries to meet increased demand and support President Biden’s goals of widespread EV adoption and cutting carbon pollution produced by gas-powered vehicles,” said US Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm.