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BYD overtakes Tesla for electrified car sales...

...but not when it comes to fully-electric cars, despite what the press is reporting. cinch explains


Elon Musk might have very well spat his Coco Pops out this morning when reading news headlines that Tesla is no longer the world's biggest electric car company. Reports that Chinese firm BYD has overtaken the American brand in the production of electric cars have been circulating the internet, but it turns out that the numbers rely on a technicality that's only relevant in China. Let us explain...

At a glance, BYD has Tesla beat, having sold 641,350 battery-powered cars in the first half of 2022, while Tesla sold 564,743. But the figures, initially reported in China, don't consider the fact that more than half of BYD's 'battery' cars are actually hybrids, meaning they still use a petrol engine in some way. All Tesla models are fully electric, so, as Musk will no doubt have been arguing all day, the comparison isn't really fair.

Still, BYD's growth through 2022 has rightfully raised a few eyebrows. The company - which currently doesn't sell its cars in Great Britain, although some electric London buses are made by the company - has seen sales rocket by 300%. At this rate, it might actually catch Tesla when it comes to fully-electric cars alone. And one day, it could sell cars in Britain.

It's probably worth getting to know this fast-growing brand, so we’re breaking down everything you need to know about BYD.

A lowdown on the brand

Founded in 2003, BYD initially made cars based on those from established Western brands (it essentially copied them for the Chinese market, which didn't go unnoticed in Europe!), but it’s since become a fully-fledged maker of its own cars. Now over half its cars are plug-in hybrids and the rest are all-electric or hydrogen - and they're considered to be premium-feeling and great value, with electric cars offering claimed ranges that nudge 400 miles. Oh, and unlike many EV companies in China, BYD isn’t state owned. In fact 8% is owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment firm.


What other electric car brands should you look out for?

It’s not just BYD that's transforming the electric car market. Li, Nio and XPeng are three other Chinese frontrunners. Nio sells cars as a lifestyle brand and it's considered to be the Chinese equivalent of Tesla, because of its market disrupter status. It has three SUVs and one saloon, and has developed a battery swapping solution to address charging challenges. You drive up to a battery station, where your depleted battery is swapped over for a full one in a matter of minutes.


Li only has one model called (somewhat unimaginably) One. It’s a PHEV with an extended range because the petrol engine acts as a charging generator for the electric motor. The firm is also a leading force in the development of autonomous driving tech.

XPeng follows Tesla from a tech first perspective. It believes the car should be an intelligent, connected vehicle. Basically, it’s designed its EVs as giant smartphone devices, and has voice-control that makes Siri look a bit sluggish.

When will we see these cars in the UK?

The next step for these manufacturers is shaking up things in the European market. It’s only a matter of time, with Nio and Li and XPeng already launched in Norway (the most electric car-loving nation in Europe). Nio is already undertaking battery swapping trials in Norway, too. As for BYD, it’s tipped to launch in the US imminently, with Europe and the UK following close behind.

XPeng Europe G7

If these cars have pipped your interest, but you’re wanting an EV right now, then we have a huge range of used hybrid and electric cars on our online showroom. From sporty Teslas to practical Volkswagens, there's pretty much an electrified car to suit everyone.