In a historic turn of events, Chinese electric vehicle (EV) powerhouse BYD has surpassed Tesla to secure the title of the world’s largest electric car company for the final quarter of 2023. Bolstered by unprecedented sales and the backing of renowned investor Warren Buffett, BYD reported a staggering 525,409 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) sold in the last three months of the year.
Despite Tesla maintaining its lead in total electric car sales for 2023, with 1.8 million units sold, BYD’s rapid ascent serves as a testament to China’s growing influence in the global EV industry. The company achieved sales of 1.57 million electric vehicles in 2023, marking an impressive 73% increase from the previous year. Additionally, BYD sold 1.44 million hybrid vehicles.
China’s robust support for the electric vehicle sector has been a driving force behind the nation’s surge in EV production and sales. The government’s target of having at least 20% of new cars sold annually classified as new energy vehicles (NEVs) by 2025 was achieved in 2022, three years ahead of schedule.
Analysts attribute China’s leadership in the global EV market to factors such as the country’s massive domestic market, cost-effective labor, and supply chain dominance. Chinese automakers, including BYD, are not only making significant strides domestically but are also expanding into international markets, causing concern among traditional rivals like Volkswagen and Renault. European Union policymakers have responded by initiating an investigation into Chinese state subsidies.
As China accelerates its shift towards electric vehicles, the government has set an ambitious target for NEVs, including BEVs, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, to constitute the “mainstream” of new car sales by 2035. Recent data from the China Association of Auto Manufacturers reveals that, in the first 11 months of 2023, new energy vehicles accounted for over 30% of total car sales, with 8.3 million units sold.
Former minister of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Miao Wei, expresses confidence that China may achieve its NEV penetration target of 50% by 2035 as early as 2025 or 2026. This optimistic outlook underscores China’s pivotal role in the global electric vehicle industry as it leverages its market scale and early-mover advantage to establish dominance in both production and innovation. Analysts from Natixis Asia, a French investment bank, affirm China’s leading position, stating, “China is now leading in production and increasing its comparative edges.”