Tesla is no longer the world’s largest electric car maker. Here’s which brand has taken its place

Tesla has lost its leadership position in the electric car market. The American company has not been overtaken by Volkswagen, as many analysts expected, but by a Chinese brand.

Chinese car brand BYD sold 641,000 electric cars in the first half of this year. By comparison, Tesla delivered 564,000 units to end customers.

Chinese automaker BYD is backed by legendary American investor Warren Buffett. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 8.2% of the Asian company. The brand’s sales increased 314.9% between January and June 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

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Tesla has been affected by pandemic restrictions in Shanghai, where the company’s largest factory is located. Shanghai Gigafactory 3 was responsible for half of Tesla’s vehicle production in 2021. The factory was closed for 22 days in May.

BYD now only sells electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars (Photo: Profimedia)

BYD shares are up 36% since the start of the year and the company has a market capitalisation of $149 billion. The brand has managed to increase its sales despite being at the centre of a pollution scandal. An investigation was launched at one of the carmaker’s plants after local residents complained of various health problems: dizziness, vomiting and respiratory ailments.

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BYD drew attention when it announced it would stop producing cars equipped only with combustion engines as of March. Internationally, other car companies that have pledged to phase out car models equipped only with internal combustion engines by 2024 include: Volvo, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar Land Rover.

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