It’s no longer Tesla – it’s BYD from China. BYD sold 1.86 million cars in 2022 which surpassed Tesla’s 1.3 million cars. This wasn’t unexpected – back in the financial crisis of 2008’s, Berkshire Hathaway invested a hefty $230 million in BYD stock. How has that gone? Charlie Munger of Berkshire has said the investment was one of his best investments and is doing ridiculously better than Tesla. (paywall free) That outlay has ballooned more than 1,570%, and even after the most recent selldown of it’s holdings in late 2022/early 2023, Berkshire’s remaining stake is still worth around $4.5 billion. BYD is looking to expand it’s reach in Japan and Europe.
BYD has made batteries for commercial and industrial purposes for years – and now they have developed their Blade Battery that seems to handle puncture and temperature tests much better than current EV batteries that have a bad tendency to catch fire and explode in accidents. Tesla plans on using a blade battery in its car in upcoming models.
BYD hasn’t come to the US, but are (obviously) selling quite well in China and Europe. Middle class Chinese customers are flocking to the $14,500 and $29,000 price tag instead of Tesla and other EV makers. So what do these cars look like? Their more recent dual motor flagship model the BYD Han is quite nice. It sells for $42,000 in China and 70,000 Euros in the EU. The interiors and ride is about as nice as the fact it can do 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.
Some of the other offerings from BYD, and a whole host of other makers if you’re curious: