To get a sense of why Toyoda Akio announced on January 26th that he would hand over the keys to the world’s biggest carmaker to Sato Koji, his number two, watch the surreal video from 2021 of the two of them driving Toyota’s first Lexus electric vehicle (EV). Mr Toyoda is at the wheel. At first, it is clear that he is a bit of an EV sceptic: he notes that the car feels heavy to drive. Then he puts his foot to the floor, and as the speed picks up he whoops with joy like an overexcited Top Gun pilot. It is cringeworthy—but pertinent. Toyota is seen by many as an EV laggard. In announcing his decision to vacate his position to Mr Sato, who is 13 years younger, the chairman-designate made clear it was time for a new generation to speed up the move into the electric era.
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Much of the media commentary surrounding Mr Toyoda’s move casts it as a response to Tesla. That is too Western-centric. Tesla may be the world’s biggest EV producer and, according to Elon Musk, its boss, so far ahead of the competition that he cannot see the number two with a telescope. Yet it ignores a Chinese newcomer that, for all Mr Musk’s bombast, Toyota no doubt takes as seriously as it does Tesla. It is BYD, which this year may overtake Tesla as the biggest global seller of pure EVs (not including hybrids, which it also makes). BYD is Toyota’s EV partner in China as well as a rising competitor globally. More important, it emulates many of the traits that for decades have made Toyota the world’s most successful car company.
Both East Asian firms share historical parallels. They did not start in the car industry. The company that gave rise to Toyota made automatic looms. BYD’s inaugural products were batteries for mobile phones. From the outset, they were so far behind their global carmaking rivals…
2023-02-02 09:18:13 China’s BYD is overtaking Tesla as the carmaker extraordinaire
Original from www.economist.com The Chinese electric car manufacturer, BYD, seems to be taking the lead in the race against its American counterpart Tesla, on its way to becoming the most sought-after carmaker across the globe.
Established over two decades ago in 1995, the company is known for their ever-expanding fleet of all-electric vehicles, mostly automated, with a larger variety of offerings and a cheaper price tag than what Tesla has to offer. According to the Statista data released in November 2020, the company accounted for 40% of the global electric car sales in 2020 and went on to lead the market.
The economically friendly prices along with the performance and reduced maintenance costs of these cars have led to their popularity with consumers.
BYD has also been on the forefront of introducing innovative technologies for their car models such as integrated solar cells for their cars. This has enabled drivers to charge their cars on the go with solar energy and reduced the reliance on making their cars at home charging stations.
The company also manufactures electric buses and trucks, which are more environment-friendly than their diesel counterparts. Its buses already ply in major cities across the globe, while its upcoming electric and automated truck is expected to be a disruptive force in the logistics industry.
The long term vision of the company of producing one million electric vehicles and one half-million hybrid vehicles every year also seems to be within reach, pushing BYD out of its home market of China and into the global market.
BYD seems to have built the perfect recipe to lead the global market of electric cars, providing performance without a hefty price tag. With innovative technology, wide-reaching presence and ambitious vision, BYD is quickly becoming the carmaker extraordinaire that everyone looks up to.