BYD shifts focus to PHEVs

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

In more unwelcome news for the lithium wannabees and actual miners and refiners, BYD, the world’s biggest maker of electrified vehicles, is continuing its push away from concentrating on lithium-gobbling battery-only EVs.

BYD is China’s biggest maker of electrified vehicles and is released figures confirming that Mat saw it continue to push deeper into the PHEV (plug-in hybrid vehicle) space and away from its previous focus (in 2023 and earlier) on battery EVs or BEVS.

BYD’s sales of PHEVS hit a record in May and in the five months from January to May in what is a big cost cutter for bYD because it is the world’s second biggest battery maker and means a lower cost for lithium and other key materials.

Aprt from Toyota with its regenerative hybrid technology, no other global car maker seems to be heading so noticeably down the PHEV route. If it becomes an industry trend in China, it will force dramatic changes in the outlook for lithium.

May sales data released on Monday by the company showed the company’s focus on the smaller battery using plug-in hybrid which boosted the company's sales of new energy vehicles (passenger and commercial) for the month to its second highest ever figure of 331,817.

BYD's sales included 330,488 passenger cars as well as commercial vehicles. Passenger sales in May were up 38.2% from May last year and 5.9% from April this year.

That was just 10,000 less than the all time high last December of 341,043 units and was up 38% from May 2023 and nearly 6% from April’s 313,245.

PHEV sales hit an all time high of 184,093 passenger vehicles in May, up 54% year-on-year and up 3.7% from April. This is the third consecutive record high for BYD PHEV sales since March.

In contrast, BYD’s sales of BEVs totalled 146,395 units in May, lower than the record 190,754 vehicles sold in December last year but still up 22.4% year-on-year and up 8.9% from April.

Data for the first five months of the year confirm the sharp swerve in BYD’s sales strategy away from battery only vehicles and towards hybrids.

For the first five months of the year BYD said it sold 1,266,934 passenger NEV up 27.1% year-on-year, and 4,391 commercial NEVs, down 28.2%.

BYD sold 580,974 passenger BEVs in January-May, up 19% year-on-year, but sales of passenger PEHVs surged 35% year on year to a record 685,960 vehicles.

Commercial vehicles sold totalled 1,329 units in May, up 17.8% from a year ago and up 11% from April.

Interestingly, BYD’s exports slipped in may from April

BYD sold 37,499 vehicles in overseas markets, down 8.5% from April but up a massive 267% on May last year. That took exports for the five months January-June to more than 176,000, up 176% year on year.

In overseas markets, BYD sold 176,409 vehicles in January-May, up 176.7% year-on-year. 

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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