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Is BYD the number one EV maker of 2023?

The Chinese automaker sold 3,024,417 cars globally last year

The Atto 3 is BYD's latest model in the country. PHOTO FROM BYD

BYD has gone a long way from starting as a battery maker in Shenzhen, China, to becoming one of the global leaders in electric vehicle production.

Last year, it sold a total of 3,024,417 vehicles with an estimated 1.6 million being battery electric vehicles (BEVs), while the remaining 1.4 million consisted of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). A small portion of this total—242,765 vehicles, to be exact—were sold internationally across 70 countries.

While these sales figures sound impressive on their own, BYD’s claim to be “number one” in New Energy Vehicle (China’s term for hybrid and fully electric cars) sales is something we can’t just take at face value. So, we did some research, and this is what we found out.

The Model 3, along with the Model Y, comprised most of Tesla's sales in 2023. PHOTO FROM TESLA

As far as engine-less cars are concerned, BYD did outsell Tesla in Q4 2023 with 526,409 BEVs (versus Tesla’s 484,507), but the American company delivered more throughout the year with 1,808,581 units (compared to BYD’s 1.6 million).

Meanwhile, for hybrids, a certain Japanese firm known as Toyota would also beg to differ. From January to October last year, it had cumulative global sales of 3,103,587 HEVs and 112,807 PHEVs—more than BYD’s figures for the whole of 2023.

Regardless of this discrepancy, BYD is a force to be reckoned with, especially since its expertise in battery production has allowed the brand to venture into industries such as renewable energy and rail transit.

Leandro Mangubat

Leandro is our staff writer. Although having a background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys photography and writing more.