Did Tesla Lose the EV Crown? Here’s What to Know.

Warren Buffett-Backed BYD sold more cars than Tesla during the first six months of the year, but that doesn’t mean it’s sold the most battery-only electric vehicles.

First, the headlines. Shenzen-based BYD (ticker: 1211.Hong Kong) sold 641,000 “new energy” vehicles in the first half of 2022, the company said on July 3. That represents an increase of almost 315% year-on-year in the same period last year. In June, BYD sold 134,036 new energy vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 162.7%.

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By comparison, Tesla (TSLA) delivered almost 565,000 vehicles in the first half of the year. In the second quarter, Tesla delivered 254,695 cars, a drop of 18% compared with first-quarter deliveries of 310,048. But June was the highest vehicle production month in Tesla’s history, according to the company.

The key is the term that BYD used—New Energy Vehicles, or NEVs. In China, that includes plug-in hybrid vehicles that have an internal combustion engine as well as a battery pack that can be charged using an external power source. BYD sells both plug-in hybrids as well as all battery-electric vehicles. Tesla only sells battery electric vehicles, what we commonly think of when we hear the term EV.

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BYD sold 314,638 plug-in hybrids in the first half of the year, up 454% compared with the first half of 2021. BYD sold 323,519 battery electric vehicles in the first half of 2022, up 246% from the same period a year earlier, while Tesla sold 564,753. Tesla still has the edge in battery-only cars, but BYD’s growth is accelerating.

Tesla stock is down about 2.9% in early trading, lagging both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite, which are down 1.9% and 0.9%, respectively. BYD shares closed down 0.7% in overseas trading.

BYD’s Hong Kong-traded shares have gained more than 17% this year. Coming into Monday trading, Tesla stock was off about 35%.