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When you think of Tesla competitors, options like Polestar, Rivian, Lucid, and even major automakers like Audi, Toyota, and Hyundai come to mind. However, none of these companies can be considered even close to Tesla in terms of global market share. On the other hand, BYD, a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, goes toe to toe with Tesla’s global sales. It has also announced it’s moving into Mexico soon.

BYD Tang
2023 BYD Tang | BYD

BYD’s recent Mexico Announcement

According to Reuters, BYD, China’s biggest EV manufacturer, has plans to sell its electric cars in Mexico from 2023, starting with its Tang and Han models. The Tang is a seven-seater electric SUV capable of 380 kW or about 509 hp, according to EV Database. The range on a single charge is just under 220 miles, and it can go from 0-60 mph in under 4.6 seconds.

The SUV is jam-packed with features that could make it a tempting option. For instance, it has an upscale interior with color-ambient lighting and a premium audio system.

The included AWD system switches from FWD to AWD automatically, depending on how much traction you need. Also, the suite of safety features includes an Advanced Driver Assistance System supported by a 360° surround view camera and 11 outdoor radars.  

Conversely, the Han is a sedan with a similar power output to the Tang and an AWD system. It can make a 0-60 mph acceleration run in under 3.9 seconds, and its range is an estimated 288 miles.

This is thanks to innovative features like the heat pump system, which reduces energy loss to functions like heating or cooling. There’s also the semiconductor that increases motor efficiency.

BYD hopes to sell 10,000 units in Mexico by the end of 2023 and up to 30,000 units in 2024. However, according to Global Data, Mexico’s median household income was just $13,989 in 2021 and likely hasn’t improved much since then. As such, the $75,000+ price for each vehicle may be a bit much for most of the Mexican population.  

Why BYD is considered Tesla’s biggest competitor

Although BYD doesn’t sell its EVs in the U.S., it’s still considered Tesla’s biggest competitor globally, with the sales figures for both automakers supporting this narrative. BYD sold 1,857,379 units from January to December 2022. However, 946,238 were plug-in hybrids, while the other 911,141 were BEVs.

In comparison, according to CNBC, Tesla sales were 1.31 million, with the company only dealing with BEVs.

For context, the next closest competitor was China’s SGMW which sold 354,594 units between January and September 2022. Volkswagen and BMW followed suit, with 281,015 and 236,591 units sold for the same period.

Markets for BYD and Tesla EVs

Currently, BYD doesn’t sell in the U.S., although it has a strong foothold in the Chinese and European markets. It’s China’s best-selling electric vehicle brand, with the closest domestic competitor, Tesla China, selling over 439,770 units for 2022.  

There was a plan for BYD to enter the U.S. market as the company spent much of 2022 studying how to set up a distribution network in the country. However, the Inflation Reduction Act seems to have put a stop to that or at least delayed progress.

The act pushes automakers to produce their EVs in North America. It also insists on EV makers sourcing materials from the U.S. or a country with which it shares a free trade agreement. China doesn’t have a free trade agreement with the U.S., which puts BYD at a disadvantage. As such, it may be a while before you see BYD EVs like the Tang, Han, or the BYD Atto 3 on U.S. roads.


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