For the first time in history, an EV maker has sold over 300,000 plug-in vehicles worldwide in a single month. And that EV maker is not Tesla.

Chinese automaker BYD sold 301,833 plug-in units in October, a 38.4% year-over-year increase. This total includes both pure EVs and plug-in hybrids.

Throughout the first 10 months of 2023, BYD sold 2.37 million plug-in passenger cars. This represents 41% of the company’s entire historical sales since its 1995 establishment.

These impressive figures, along with six consecutive months of record-breaking monthly sales, have been pivotal in BYD’s ascent. BYD is now the fifth best-selling car brand in the world.

Customers in 59 countries now have the ability to purchase a BYD EV. In addition to China, these nations include the United Kingdom, Japan, and South Korea.

BYD’s all-electric sales are increasing at a faster rate than its plug-in hybrid sales. BYD sold 165,505 all-electric cars in October, a year-over-year growth rate of 60%. Meanwhile, BYD sold 135,590 plug-in hybrids in October, a year-over-year growth of only 19%.

The October figures mean that BYD has caught up to Tesla or even slightly surpassed it. Tesla doesn’t report monthly sales figures, so we don’t know exactly how many cars Tesla sold in their best-ever month.

However, in Tesla’s best-ever quarter (Q2 2023), the company sold 466,140 all-electric cars. This equates to an average of 155,380 all-electric sales for each of the three months in Q2. This figure is behind BYD’s October total of 165,505.

Unlike BYD, Tesla doesn’t produce plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Moreover, BYD continues to grow at a faster rate than Tesla. Even after cutting prices by about 20% in the past year, Tesla’s Q3 sales growth was only 27%. This is well below BYD’s overall growth rate of 38.4% and its all-electric growth rate of 60%.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long been criticized for ignoring the threat posed by BYD. In a 2011 interview, Musk ridiculed the idea that BYD could be a potential competitor to Tesla.

Image Source: People’s Daily, China