Tesla vs. BYD: Could Tesla Fall to Number Two?

By Kevin Armstrong
CarNewsChina

For years, the Tesla community has joked, "The competition is coming," because every EV talked about was suddenly the Tesla killer. Recent numbers show no competition for Tesla in North America; all the other manufacturers could pool their numbers together and still not come close to Tesla's sales.

The latest sales figures prompted Elon Musk to state once again, "The competition is coming." There's no denying that Musk's company has reshaped the automotive world's landscape, especially in North America, where its supremacy is almost undisputed. However, when we cast our eyes further East to China, a different story begins to unravel, and a formidable challenger, BYD, steps onto the stage. That casual comment is starting to sound increasingly prophetic.

Q3 Numbers Show BYD is Coming

The latest Q3 sales data reveals an intriguing trend. While Tesla delivered a commendable 435,059 pure electric cars, BYD was hot on its heels with sales of 431,603 pure electric passenger vehicles. This places BYD's EV sales at an impressive 99.21% of Tesla's for this quarter. To provide context, Tesla outsold BYD by more than 670,000 vehicles in the preceding six quarters. Now, the sales gap has narrowed dramatically to a mere 3,456 units.

Moreover, while Tesla's quarter-to-quarter growth experienced a dip of 6.7% (mainly due to factory shutdown for retooling and buyers awaiting the new Model 3), BYD's pure EV sales witnessed a significant surge, boasting a year-on-year growth of 66.9%. Current trends suggest BYD might even surpass Tesla in the upcoming Q4 sales.

Global EV Race Is Just Starting

Both companies manifest global ambitions, setting up vehicle factories in various parts of the world. Tesla's footprint extends worldwide, with an upcoming factory in Mexico. In contrast, BYD is bolstering its position with facilities in China and substantial investments in countries like Uzbekistan, Thailand, and Brazil. But, BYD is now looking at the North American market with a starting point in Mexico.

The global stage is set for fierce competition between these automotive giants. BYD's aggressive push into the Mexican market with its electric offerings, like the recently unveiled DOLPHIN, underlines its global ambitions. As the brand further cements its presence, with endeavors like expanding to 50 dealership stores across all 32 Mexican states, the groundwork for a North American entry seems to be laid.

Beyond just numbers, BYD's commitment to innovation is evident. The DOLPHIN, for instance, with its unique "Ocean Aesthetics design philosophy," its efficient fast-charging capability, and a range of 405 km, exemplifies the company's drive to merge aesthetics with performance. Additionally, their play isn't solely in the EV space; BYD's diverse technological background spanning over 28 years across different sectors sets them apart.

Competition is Good

Yet, framing this as a mere 'Tesla vs. BYD' scenario would be remiss. This growth and competition signify a more considerable momentum in the global shift towards sustainable transportation. As BYD expands its footprint, it reinforces the idea that the EV revolution is not a monopoly but a collective endeavor. However, for Tesla enthusiasts and market analysts alike, the movements of BYD, especially in China, are becoming impossible to ignore.

While Tesla has been enjoying its reign, BYD's recent strides remind us that the crown is up for grabs in the dynamic world of electric vehicles. Elon Musk's playful warning might have been more prescient than anyone realized: the competition is not just coming; it's already here.

Tesla Cybertruck's High-Profile Auction Sale Underlines Strict Contractual Resale Conditions

By Kevin Armstrong
Cybertruck Sold at Auction
Cybertruck Sold at Auction

A Foundation Series Tesla Cybertruck fetched a remarkable $244,000 at auction via Cox Automotive's Manheim platform, surpassing its MSRP by more than $120,000 and capturing widespread attention. It's crucial to take into account Tesla's distinctive contract stipulations related to the resale of this highly sought-after, iconic vehicle.

Tesla's Resale Terms

Tesla has outlined specific terms for the resale of the Cybertruck, given its initial limited release. Although the information is not on the website, it does appear with the purchase agreement. According to the contract, owners are prohibited from selling or attempting to sell the vehicle within the first year of delivery. Should an owner need to sell the vehicle within this period due to unforeseen circumstances, they must notify Tesla in writing, allowing the company to repurchase the vehicle at the original purchase price, adjusted for mileage, wear and tear, and repair costs to meet Tesla's standards.

This policy highlights Tesla's intent to control the resale market and maintain the vehicle's exclusivity. Owners found breaching these terms face the possibility of significant penalties, including a $50,000 fine or the full value received from the sale, emphasizing the seriousness with which Tesla views compliance.

However, are we supposed to believe celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, and Jay-Z were sitting at their computers waiting for the reservation list to open? A-list celebs driving Teslas is good for the brand, but it's questionable how they scooped up the Cybertruck so quickly if it wasn’t a private sale.

Buyer's Intent and Tesla's Stance

The purchase by a Porsche dealership in Orlando adds another layer of intrigue, as it remains unclear whether the vehicle will be showcased, resold, or used for comparative analysis. Automotive manufacturers often acquire competitors' models for research and development purposes, suggesting that this acquisition could offer Porsche valuable insights into Tesla's cutting-edge electric vehicle technology.

This high-profile auction sale could inspire other Cybertruck owners to explore the resale market, hoping for similar financial gains. However, Tesla's stringent resale conditions may deter some, casting a shadow of speculation over how the company will enforce its policy. The effectiveness of Tesla's strategy compared to other automakers' efforts to prevent flipping remains to be seen, with this incident possibly setting a precedent for future transactions.

This isn't the first instance of a Cybertruck making waves at auction. Previously, a Cybertruck was auctioned at the Petersen Museum Gala event, fetching an impressive $400,000. Whether this sale will encourage more owners to navigate Tesla's resale policy for profit or if it will underscore the company's control over its secondary market remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is the Cybertruck's undiminished impact on both the electric vehicle landscape and the broader automotive industry.

Tesla Model 3's 2024 IIHS Safety Award Snub, While Model Y Shines

By Kevin Armstrong
Model Y Top Safety Pick
Model Y Top Safety Pick

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has once again raised the bar for vehicle safety in 2024, introducing more rigorous criteria to evaluate the protection vehicles offer to occupants and pedestrians alike. Amidst these enhanced standards, the Tesla Model Y stands out as a recipient of the prestigious Top Safety Pick+ award, affirming its position as a leader in automotive safety, a position it has held for years, also claiming last year’s title.

Innovative Safety Features

The 2024 Tesla Model Y has demonstrated outstanding performance across various safety tests, excelling in crashworthiness and crash avoidance capabilities. The vehicle earned the highest possible rating, 'Good'’ in all tested categories, including small and moderate overlap front tests, side impact tests, roof strength, and head restraint tests. Notably, Model Y's performance in the small overlap front test was particularly commendable, showcasing effective airbag deployment, well-maintained survival space for the dummy, and a low risk of significant injuries.

The Model Y has advanced safety features significantly contributing to its top-tier rating. Among these, automatic emergency braking stands out, displaying superior pedestrian detection and avoidance capabilities under daylight and nighttime conditions. Additionally, the vehicle's LED projector headlights received high praise for their illumination quality, ensuring optimal visibility without causing glare to oncoming traffic. Lars Moravy, VP of Vehicle Engineering at Tesla, explains why the company’s vehicles are so safe.

Recognizing the importance of safety for passengers of all ages, the Tesla Model Y's LATCH system for child seat anchors was rated 'Acceptable.'’ This reflects the vehicle’s commitment to accommodating families and enhancing safety for younger passengers, highlighting the ease of use and accessibility of the anchors.

Absence of Model 3

While the Tesla Model Y has proudly secured its place among the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ awardees for 2024, the Model 3 was noticeably absent from this prestigious list. The reason behind this, as reported by Teslarati, sheds light on the stringent criteria set by IIHS and the potential for future inclusion of Model 3.

Historically, the Model 3 was honored with the Top Safety Pick+ award in 2020, 2021, and 2022 but was notably missing in 2023 and 2024. Joe Young of the IIHS explained to Teslarati the reason behind this absence: the Model 3 has yet to be evaluated in the institute's updated side crash test and lacks a rating in the updated moderate overlap crash test—both critical components of the award criteria for this year.

This lack of current evaluations means the IIHS cannot consider the Model 3 for either safety award at this time. However, it's not a definitive exclusion. The IIHS is open to recognizing the 2024 Model 3 later in the year as additional tests are completed and ratings are updated.

Tesla’s engineering focus on creating the safest vehicles in the world is evident, with an extremely low chance of roll-over and occupant injury, positioning the Model Y as the best-selling car globally and among the safest on the road.

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