BYD had some nice words for Tesla, which it now sees as a strong partner in the fight to take the auto industry away from combustion engine vehicles.
Tesla and BYD have a very different relationship these days then they used to just about a decade ago.
They were both early in electric vehicles, although BYD focused more on PHEVs at first while Tesla was always BEVs or nothing. But Tesla didn’t think much of the Chinese automaker.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk literally laughed off BYD as competition:
But that was a while ago. Now, BYD has surpassed Tesla has the biggest producer of all-electric vehicles in the world.
Musk now takes them much more seriously. Without mentioning BYD by name, he recently said that he sees Chinese EV automakers as Tesla’s best EV competition.
But Tesla and BYD now also work together. Tesla is using BYD LFP battery cells in some of its own electric vehicles. The relationship between the world’s two largest electric vehicle companies appears to be to be blossoming.
Yunfei Li, general manager of branding and public relations at BYD, acknowledged that Tesla had an important role to play in the rapid growth of electric vehicles around the world.
The executive told reporters earlier this week (via CNBC translated from Mandarin):
Tesla is our very respected industry peer. It is also our client. I think this market is very large. It’s not that we must surpass them or they must surpass us. Instead, BYD and Tesla together, or more new energy vehicle brands together, we need to think about how to increase the new energy vehicle ‘cake.’
BYD is still mostly known in its home market of China, but it gradually expanding in western markets.
That’s what I like to see. Tesla and BYD are undoubtedly the two biggest forces in electrification. It’s good to see them working together to accelerate electrification.
EV automakers need to focus on taking market shares from ICE vehicles rather than each others even though the former is inevitable.
When they can work together, they should and it looks like it’s exactly what BYD and Tesla are doing now.
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