After topping Tesla in the final three months of 2023, BYD is starting the year off strong with EV sales rising another 50% in January.

BYD EV sales momentum continues in January

BYD sold 105,304 fully electric cars last month, up 48% from the 71,338 handed over last year. Production was also up significantly, with 114,365 EVs built last month, up 64% YOY.

Interestingly, BYD’s all-electric vehicles are beginning to outpace its plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). BYD’s PHEV sales were up 21% to 95,715 last month. Production was only up 9% to 90,749 units.

After selling nearly 1.6 million EVs in 2023, BYD is fueling growth with an overseas expansion. The company delivered a record 36,174 vehicles overseas in January.

With 526,409 EVs sold in the final three months of 2023, BYD topped Tesla’s 484,507 deliveries for the EV sales crown. Tesla doesn’t report monthly figures, so we can’t compare until the first quarter results are released.

Meanwhile, BYD’s general manager of branding and public relations, Yunfei Li, told reporters earlier this week, “Tesla is our very respected industry peer. It is also our client.”

BYD Dolphin (left) and Atto 3 (right) Source: BYD

It’s not “we must surpass them or they must surpass us,” Li explained. Instead, BYD and Tesla need to work together “to increase the new energy vehicle ‘cake.’”

Although BYD is known for its low-cost EVs like the Dolphin electric hatch and Atto 3 SUV, the brand is rapidly expanding into new segments and markets.

BYD Yangwang U7 (Source: Yangwang)

The brand revealed its premium Yangwang U7 electric sports sedan last month with over 1,000 hp and a starting price tag of over $140,000 (1 million RMB). It will join the 1,200 hp U8 off-roader that costs around $150,000 in BYD’s luxury Yanwang brand.

BYD Sea Lion 07 (Source: BYD)

BYD also revealed various-sized electric SUVs, including the Sea Lion 07, Song L, and Yuan Up, that will compete with Tesla’s best-selling Model Y.

Electrek’s Take

As BYD’s Li explained, it’s not about who is selling more EVs. It’s about transitioning the auto industry for a sustainable future.

It’s fun to compare the two leading EV makers to give you an idea of where things stand, but at the end of the day, it’s about cleaner transportation.

BYD is working with most of the top automakers, including Tesla, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Ford, BMW, and others, as it works to increase the share of EVs on the road, or in Li’s words, the electric vehicle “cake.”

The EV leader is already taking market share in key markets like Thailand, Brazil, and Columbia. Recent launches in Mexico, India, Australia, Indonesia, and Europe will also likely drive sales this year.

BYD is now shipping its own EVs with its first ship, the BYD Explorer No. 1, headed for Europe. It can carry up to 7,000 vehicles as the automaker expands overseas.

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