Tesla and BYD: The global BEV production and sales race heats up

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

Even though Tesla has again managed to remain ahead of BYD in the global battery-powered EV (BEV) production and sales race, analysts say it's only a matter of time before the Chinese car giant moves into the lead.

According to research group Counterpoints, that could come later this year.

Other analysts are not so sure because of the unknown impact of higher tariffs imposed by the EU for at least four months on Chinese-made EVs.

Those tariffs start today (July 5), with BYD facing tariffs on imports of vehicles set at 17.4%.

"BYD's BEV market share is set to surge in 2024, the year it is expected to overtake Tesla in BEV sales," market researcher Counterpoint Research said in a July 2 report.

"This shift underscores the dynamic nature of the global EV market," Counterpoint added.

In the final quarter of 2023, BYD's BEV sales surpassed those of Tesla for the first time, with 526,409 and 484,507 units respectively.

However, Tesla regained the top BEV sales spot in the first quarter of this year with 386,810 units sold, 86,696 more than BYD's 300,114 units.

In the just-completed second quarter, BYD continued to run second to Tesla in BEV sales, but the sales gap narrowed dramatically.

Tesla delivered 443,956 vehicles in the three months to last Sunday. That was 17,917 vehicles higher than BYD's passenger car BEV sales of 426,039 vehicles in the same quarter.

All in all, Tesla delivered 104,000 more BEVs in the first six months of this year — 830,766 units — than BYD’s 726,153 units.

That will be tough to make up over the next six months, even if BYD moves ahead on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

The Tesla figures included an estimated 104,000 units of the Cybertruck pickup, while BYD’s figures this quarter and next will be bolstered by production and sales in a joint venture in Uzbekistan and production from the new Thai factory, which started operations this week.

The Thai plant is wholly owned and will have a capacity of 150,000 units a year. It is likely it will be used to export BYD vehicles to Australia, just as Ford, Honda, and Toyota use Thailand to ship cars into Australia and other Asian markets. This plant will become one of the most important in BYD’s lineup.

The joint venture in Uzbekistan will have a capacity for 50,000 vehicles a year, all of which will go to Central Asian countries.

BYD's NEV sales are more than twice as high as Tesla's when PHEVs are included.

BYD's passenger BEV sales totaled 726,153 units in the first half, up 17.7% year-on-year. Sales of passenger PHEVs jumped by more than 39% to 880,992 units.

Counterpoint expects global BEV sales to reach 10 million units in 2024, a significant milestone for the global passenger vehicle market. Total electrified vehicle sales will top 17 million, according to the International Energy Agency’s April forecast.

In addition, China will maintain more than 50% of global BEV sales by 2027 and is expected to sell more BEVs than North America and Europe combined by 2030, according to the report.

Starting in 2025, Europe and the US will begin to be the main growth drivers, Counterpoint said.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter?

Would you like to receive our daily news to your inbox?