Fact check: Did the Warren Buffett-backed Chinese automaker overtake Tesla in sales?

Let’s see what the numbers say.
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Tesla and BYD sale points.1/2

BYD, the Chinese automaker group backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has become the world’s biggest electric vehicle manufacturer saleswise in the first half of the year.

According to company filings, BYD increased its sales by more than 300 percent compared to the same period of 2021 and sold 640,000 vehicles in the first six months of the year. 

Comparing that number to Tesla’s 564,000 vehicle sales, even though most of them were hybrid vehicles that utilize both electric and internal combustion engines, Chinese regulations consider hybrid vehicles zero-emission too. Therefore, BYD technically sold more “electric vehicles” than Tesla.

Tesla also had a tough second quarter due to supply chain issues and sales disruptions due to COVID restrictions. Tesla, along with some Chinese EV makers, including Li Auto, Xpeng, and Nio, were more impacted by the restrictions than BYD, as most of its factories are not affected by the most severe restrictions.  

Regarding the news, after both Tesla and BYD reported their results for the second quarter, Tesla reported having delivered just over 250,000 vehicles. It adds up to Tesla's delivery of more than 564,000 electric vehicles in the first half of 2022. As for BYD, the company reported 640,000 “electric vehicles” as delivered during the first half of the year in a tweet. While most of BYD’s sales consisted of hybrid vehicles, 314,638 vehicles, according to Electrek, to be exact, this proves Tesla’s still the biggest electric vehicle seller.

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China manufactures and sells many vehicles. Also being the world’s largest car market, China exported more than half a million electric vehicles last year, more than doubling the figure of the previous year. Chinese-owned companies such as Volvo Cars and MG Motor manufactured a large percentage of those cars. 

China is working hard to be a strong player in both internal combustion-powered and electric vehicles. Still, as of now, Tesla’s position as the world’s biggest electric vehicle seller is safe.

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