Tesla is no longer the world’s top EV maker

7 Jul 2022

Image: © Tierney/Stock.adobe.com

Set back by a lockdown in Shanghai, an important manufacturing base, Tesla is now playing second fiddle to a Chinese EV maker.

Tesla is no longer the world’s leading manufacturer of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), having been knocked off the top spot by Chinese rival BYD.

According to data from CleanTechnica, Elon Musk’s Tesla produced a total of 406,869 fully electric BEVs between January and May 2022. Meanwhile, BYD produced 506,868 fully electric BEVs in the same period.

This means that BYD now has a 15.6pc market share in the BEV space, compared to Tesla’s 12.6pc.

A graph showing the market share of BEV producers, with BYD having the largest slice.

Tesla is knocked out of top place as the biggest BEV producer. Image: Statista

When looking at total sales for the first half of the year – including plug-in hybrid models – BYD was still ahead of Tesla by almost 80,000 vehicles, according to Forbes. BYD sales grew 315pc in the first half, while Tesla saw only a relatively modest 46pc growth in the same period.

The next leading brands in terms of market share are China’s SAIC (8.6pc), Volkswagen (7.8 pc) and Hyundai-Kia (5.8pc).

Tesla was likely impacted by its Shanghai manufacturing plant that had to halt production earlier this year after the Chinese government issued a lockdown following a surge in Covid-19 cases.

A significant base for the company, the Shanghai Tesla plant was shut down for 22 days starting late March, significantly impacting its production capacity. BYD, on the other hand, was unscathed by the Shanghai lockdown because its factories are located in regions that did not suffer extended lockdowns, according to PCMag.

It follows “a breakthrough year” for Tesla when it saw deliveries shoot up 87pc. The company generated more than $17.7bn in revenue in its fourth quarter of 2021 with net income of more than $2.3bn.

In the full year, Tesla saw its revenue rise by a whopping 71pc over 2020 to exceed $53.8bn, while its net income was $5.52bn. By October, Tesla had reached a trillion-dollar valuation.

“There should no longer be doubt about the viability and profitability of electric vehicles,” Tesla said in January.

“We aim to increase our production as quickly as we can, not only through ramping production at new factories in Austin and Berlin, but also by maximising output from our established factories in Fremont and Shanghai.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic