Tesla has long held a place of prominence in the world of electric vehicles (EVs), enjoying a significant lead over all its rivals across the world. But the pedestal on which the US-based manufacturer has long been perched upon is under direct threat from China’s BYD which has now equalled Tesla’s 17 per cent market share in the world of battery electric vehicles or BEVs, as per Counterpoint Research.
BYD is a significant player in China’s EV scene and has recently expanded to several overseas markets as well, including India. And unlike Tesla, the company also offers hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), apart from its lineup of BEVs. Tesla, however, only offers BEVs and even here, its global market share is now under serious threat.
What is remarkable is that BYD had a 13 per cent market share in the previous Q3 (for BEVs alone) and was behind the curve to Tesla’s 17 per cent even then. But it has taken some massive strides to catch up and is now poised to shift to top gear and overtake. A key driving factor here may be BYD’s March of 2022 decision to stop production of vehicles that are powered by engines, and focus entirely on BEVs, hybrids and PHEVs. While China remains its biggest market, overseas expansion may also be helping with the additional boost.
Tesla vs BYD: David vs Goliath?
Tesla’s rise has been meteoric. It has left established champions of the automotive world, the likes of Toyota, Volkswagen and even the German luxury brands far behind. The Elon Musk-led company has often been compared to David from the Book of Samuel. But BYD may be the new David in town.
Established in 1995 as a company focused on rechargeable nickel–cadmium batteries, BYD eventually established two main subsidiaries – BYD Auto and BYD Electronics. BYD Auto was founded in 2003, the same year as Tesla. The Chinese company entered into production of forklifts, buses, trucks and electric bicycles – not necessarily in that order, before seeing potential in battery-powered four-wheeled vehicles. The potential was also because China was emerging as a big player in the EV category. Today, the country leads the world.
Tesla only entered into the Chinese market in 2017. The Shanghai facility was its first outside of the US and currently supplies the local market as well as select European countries. But while the company remains an enormously popular manufacturer here, BYD has been consistently growing big in its home base while pressing on the expansionist mode as well.
If Tesla has Model 3, its most affordable EV, BYD has Seal. If Tesla has Model Y SUV, BYD has Song EV. Model for model, the competition is hotting up. Tesla is catering to the global audience. BYD is still a largely Chinese market-dependent company. But it is using its local popularity to add winds to its proverbial sails. Will Tesla weather the incoming storm?
First Published Date: 19 Dec 2023, 19:51 PM IST