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BYD Closing in on Top Spots in Battery & EV Production vs. CATL, Tesla
Chinese battery and EV maker BYD has had a strong year in both industries: Let’s review.
December 13, 2023
5 Min Read
BYD celebrates producing its six-millionth New Energy Vehicle at its Zhengzhou factory in November.Image courtesy of BYD Co. Ltd.
With its 6 millionth new energy vehicle (NEV) rolling off the line on Nov. 24, fast-growing EV battery supplier BYD reached yet another milestone in production volume that illustrates the company’s commitment to growth—and caps a year replete with progress.
In December, Nikkei Asia reported that BYD is running neck and neck with global leader in EV battery production CATL, by becoming the top maker of lithium iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries. In the tight race, BYD has the advantage of also being an EV maker, and able to place its Blade LFP battery in its popular EVs as well as sell them to other EV manufacturers.
BYD's Blade battery pack. (Credit: BYD)
As BYD competes with CATL on the battery front, it is also ready to give Tesla a run for its money on the EV side. Industry watchers told news outlets including Business Insider that BYD is expected to overtake Tesla as the world’s biggest EV maker in the last three months of 2023. “BYD sold just 3,000 fewer EVs than Elon Musk's company in the three months to September 30,” Business Insider reported in November.
BYD’s landmark 6 millionth vehicle, manufactured at the company’s Zhengzhou factory, is the plug-in hybrid Fangchengbao BAO 5 off-road SUV. The hybrid was presented during the 21st Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in November, alongside BYD’s first mid-sized pure electric SUV, the Sea Lion 07 EV.
Founded in 1995, BYD’s latest milestone is a testament to the company’s rapid growth. BYD reached the 1 million NEV mark in May 2021, the 3 million NEV mark in November 2022, and the 5 million NEV mark in August.
BYD touted another milestone in October, selling more than 300,000 NEVs for the month. Since 2010, the company’s steady expansion of its global presence means that its electric public transportation solutions operate in over 400 cities in more than 70 countries. Furthermore, its NEVs operate in 58 countries and regions, with significant growth in Thailand, Brazil and other locations, the company noted.
Illustrating BYD’s broadening appeal, five of the company’s NEV models were well received at the Revolution 2023 Auto Show in Jamaica from Nov. 17-19.
“As of October 2023, BYD's cumulative sales of new energy vehicles have surpassed 5.7 million units, reaching over 70 countries and regions across six continents,” said Neva Zhang, BYD's Country Manager for Central America and the Caribbean. “BYD remains steadfast in its mission to provide technological innovations for a better life. The BYD HAN, BYD TANG, BYD YUAN PLUS, BYD DOLPHIN, and BYD e6 models introduced this time each bring unique strengths in design language and performance, catering comprehensively to the diverse needs of our customers. Noteworthy is the upcoming opening of the first BYD dealership at AC Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, promising a range of diverse and high-quality electric mobility experiences for local consumers.”
Meanwhile in Dubai, BYD on Nov. 23 announced the launch of the HAN EV and the grand opening of the state-of-the-art BYD Showroom and Discovery Center at Dubai Festival City. The modish 2,625-square-foot showroom, situated in a repurposed building to minimize its carbon footprint, features direct mall access.
And in the Phillippines, BYD launched its ATTO 3 model—a pure electric SUV available in standard- and long-range versions.
“The BYD ATTO 3 is not just an electric vehicle but the culmination of BYD's electric vehicle technology,” enthused James Ng, general manager of BYD Philippines and Singapore. “We believe that this model will offer a refreshing experience to Filipino consumers, accompanying more Filipinos on their green, efficient, and safe journeys.”
Wang Chuanfu, Chairman and President of BYD Co., Ltd. (second from left) and other BYD execs at Japan Mobility Show in November. (Credit: BYD)
In October BYD took part in the Japan Mobility Show 2023—becoming the first-ever Chinese automaker to do so. The focal point there was the BYD SEAL, a sporty, pure-electric sedan set to launch in Japan in spring 2024. And the YANGWANG U8, the inaugural model in BYD’s premium electric sub-brand, made its first appearance outside China.
“For 28 years, BYD has been unwavering in its commitment to technological innovations and its green dream,” explained Liu Xueliang, general manager of BYD’s Asia-Pacific Auto Sales Division. “We're striving to align diverse lifestyles with eco-conscious mobility choices. With Japanese consumers by our side, we're promoting the adoption of EV products and technology, aiming to make 'electric vehicle' the 'essential vehicle' in people's daily life, and to pioneer the transition to sustainable mobility.”
Votes of confidence
With high-profile CEO Wang Chuanfu at the helm, BYD is cruising into 2024 with great momentum. In July, Wang was named No. 1 among China’s top 50 CEOs for the second straight year by Forbes China.
He also earned particular respect from just-passed billionaire investor Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns about 8% of BYD. Munger was instrumental in Berkshire Hathaway’s initial investment in BYD in 2008. That investment, then valued at $230 million, has soared in value to about $2.4 billion with Berkshire’s current position.
“I have never helped do anything at Berkshire [Hathaway] that was as good as BYD—and I only did it once,” Munger said during a virtual meeting in February. “BYD is so much ahead of Tesla in China … it’s almost ridiculous,” he asserted, noting that while Tesla reduced its prices in China twice in 2022, BYD raised them.
Munger elaborated during an hourlong podcast with Acquired in October, praising Wang as a natural engineer. “The guy at BYD is better at actually making things than Elon [Musk] is,”
Wang explained how BYD caught up with Tesla in the November 2022 issue of Forbes Asia.
“[BYD] has mastered the core technologies of the whole industrial chain of new energy vehicles, such as batteries, motors and electronic controls.”
Strategy becomes “the direction of enterprise success,” Wang added. “First, technology serves strategy, and secondly, it serves products. Technology can make enterprise strategy more precise, and it can also make enterprises look higher, farther and deeper.
“If a vehicle model breaks down, it may only cost several hundred million yuan, but if the strategic direction goes wrong, it may take three to five years, and time cannot be bought with money.”
EV Battery Leaders is a series of occasional features profiling the top makers of EV batteries worldwide.
About the Author(s)
Geoff Giordano is a tech journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of publishing. He has reported extensively on the manufacturing, medical, and plastics industries. A top-shelf content creator, versatile large-market journalist, and tireless communications strategist, Geoff notes that after running a daily news operation, everything else is a piece of cake. Contact him at [email protected].
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