BYD Launches Fast-Charging Electric Vehicle to Challenge Tesla

The Chinese electric vehicle maker unveils its new model that can charge up to 80% in just 15 minutes.

BYD (BYDDY), one of the leading electric vehicle makers in China and a rival of Tesla (TSLA), has launched its new model, the Dolphin, on Dec. 27, 2023. The Dolphin is a compact hatchback that features a fast-charging technology that can replenish up to 80% of its battery in just 15 minutes, according to the company. The Dolphin also boasts a range of 405 kilometers (251 miles) on a single charge and a top speed of 170 kilometers per hour (105 miles per hour).

The Dolphin is powered by BYD’s Blade Battery, which uses lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry that is safer and more durable than the conventional lithium-ion batteries. The Blade Battery can withstand high temperatures and impacts without catching fire or exploding, as demonstrated by BYD in various tests. The Blade Battery also has a longer lifespan and a higher energy density than other LFP batteries, according to BYD.

BYD Launches Fast-Charging Electric Vehicle to Challenge Tesla
BYD Launches Fast-Charging Electric Vehicle to Challenge Tesla

The Dolphin is priced at 89,800 yuan ($13,900) after subsidies, making it one of the most affordable electric vehicles in the Chinese market. The Dolphin is expected to compete with Tesla’s Model 3, which starts at 249,900 yuan ($38,700) after subsidies, and other electric vehicles from local brands such as Nio (NIO), Xpeng (XPEV), and Li Auto (LI).

BYD’s ambitions in the electric vehicle market

BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, is a Chinese conglomerate that produces various products, including electric vehicles, batteries, solar panels, and rail transit. BYD was founded in 1995 as a battery manufacturer and entered the electric vehicle market in 2003. BYD is backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), which owns a 8.2% stake in the company.

BYD is one of the largest electric vehicle makers in China and the world. In 2023, BYD sold 426,972 electric vehicles, an increase of 190% from 2019, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. BYD ranked second in China’s electric vehicle market, behind Tesla, which sold 495,629 units in 2023. BYD also ranked fourth in the global electric vehicle market, behind Tesla, Volkswagen (VWAGY), and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (RNLSY).

BYD has been expanding its presence in the international markets, especially in Europe and Latin America. In 2023, BYD launched its Tang SUV and Qin sedan in Norway, the first European country to receive its electric vehicles. BYD also delivered 1,002 electric buses to Bogota, Colombia, the largest electric bus fleet in Latin America. BYD plans to enter more markets in 2024, including Germany, France, Spain, and the UK.

BYD’s challenges and opportunities in the electric vehicle industry

BYD faces several challenges and opportunities in the electric vehicle industry, as the competition intensifies and the demand grows. Some of the challenges and opportunities are:

  • Challenge: BYD faces fierce competition from Tesla, which dominates the premium segment of the electric vehicle market, and other Chinese brands, such as Nio, Xpeng, and Li Auto, which target the young and tech-savvy consumers. BYD also competes with traditional automakers, such as Volkswagen, Toyota ™, and General Motors (GM), which are ramping up their electric vehicle production and offerings.
  • Opportunity: BYD has a strong advantage in its battery technology, which is cheaper, safer, and more efficient than the conventional batteries. BYD also has a diversified portfolio of electric vehicles, ranging from sedans and SUVs to buses and trucks, catering to different segments and needs of the market. BYD also has a loyal customer base and a well-established brand reputation in China and other regions.
  • Challenge: BYD faces regulatory and policy uncertainties in China and other markets, as the governments may change the rules and incentives for the electric vehicle industry. For example, China has reduced the subsidies for electric vehicles since 2019, and plans to phase them out completely by 2022. China also has imposed stricter standards and quotas for electric vehicle production and sales, which may affect BYD’s performance and profitability.
  • Opportunity: BYD can benefit from the growing demand and support for electric vehicles, as the consumers and governments become more aware and concerned about the environmental and social impacts of fossil fuels. According to BloombergNEF, the global electric vehicle sales are expected to reach 31.1 million units by 2030, accounting for 32% of the total vehicle sales. China, which is the largest electric vehicle market in the world, aims to have 25% of its new car sales to be electric by 2025, and 50% by 2035.

The Dolphin is BYD’s latest attempt to challenge Tesla and other rivals in the electric vehicle market, with its fast-charging technology and affordable price. The Dolphin may appeal to the mass market consumers who are looking for a convenient and economical option for urban mobility. The Dolphin may also help BYD to achieve its vision of becoming a global leader in the electric vehicle industry.

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