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Last updated: February 17, 2023

Tesla Is No Longer the World’s Most Popular Electric-Car Maker

BYD took the crown for the most electric vehicles sold in 2022.

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Move over, Elon Musk. The latest data shows that Chinese automaker BYD has surpassed Tesla to claim the most electric vehicles (EVs) sold in 2022. With an astronomical increase in sales last year, BYD is extremely popular in China, where it holds nearly a third of the market share.

In general, China has outpaced the U.S. in terms of all-electric versus hybrid-vehicle sales, partially due to its plethora of electric charging stations. Can the U.S. catch up?

BYD Surpasses Tesla in Global Electric Vehicle Sales

In 2021, Tesla held 19 percent of the worldwide market share for electric vehicles, while BYD came in second with 10 percent. But in 2022, BYD surpassed Tesla, taking the top spot with 18 percent of the global market share, compared with Tesla’s 13 percent.

Both companies had large electric vehicle growth in 2022. But while Tesla expanded its EV sales by 672 percent year over year, BYD grew by an amazing 1,881 percent.1

Brand Number of electric vehicles sold worldwide in 2021 Market share in 2021 Number of electric cars sold worldwide in 2022 Market share in 2022
BYD 93,293 10% 1,847,745 18%
Tesla 170,152 19% 1,314,330 13%

BYD’s Popularity in China

Last year in China, BYD sold more than 1.6 million electric vehicles, while Tesla sold just under 441,000. So while BYD makes up nearly a third of the Chinese market share, Tesla has only 7 percent, based on the 2022 data.

Model Number of vehicles sold in December 2022 Market share
BYD Song Pro/Plus (BEV+PHEV) 70,269 11%
Wuling HongGuang Mini EV 34,523 5%
BYD Han (BEV+PHEV) 30,043 5%
Tesla Model Y 29,387 4%
BYD Dolphin 26,074 4%
BYD Qin Plus (BEV+PHEV) 23,149 3%
BYD Yuan Plus EV 22,599 3%
BYD Tang (BEV+PHEV) 20,164 3%
BYD Seal 15,378 2%
GAC Aion S 13,832 2%
GAC Aion Y 14,311 2%
Changan Lumin 13,757 2%
Tesla Model 3 12,539 2%
Changan Shenlan SL03 (BEV+PHEV) 11,650 2%
Zeekr 001 11,337 2%
Li Xiang L9 EREV 10,582 2%
Li Xiang L8 EREV 10,189 2%
Dongfeng Fengshen E-Series 9,075 1%
BAIC EU-Series 8,840 1%
VW ID.4 8,733 1%

In the U.S., Tesla Reigns Supreme

Although BYD leads the Chinese market, Tesla is still the most popular electric vehicle manufacturer in the U.S., according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy.2 The Tesla Model 3 alone makes up nearly half of the entire U.S. electric vehicle market, while Tesla as a brand makes up 60 percent. It’s important to note, however, that the latest data is from 2019 and that BYD vehicles are not available for purchase in the U.S.

Vehicle Number of plug-in electric vehicles sold in 2019 in the U.S. Percentage of the total market share in 2019 in the U.S.
Tesla Model 3 154,840 49%
Toyota Prius PHEV 23,630 8%
Tesla Model X 19,425 6%
Chevy Bolt 16,313 5%
Tesla Model S 15,090 5%
Nissan Leaf 12,365 4%
Honda Clarity Plug-in 10,728 3%
Ford Fusion Energi 7,476 2%
Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid 5,811 2%
BMW 5-Series Plug-in 5,442 2%
Audi e-tron 5,369 2%
Chevy Volt 4,915 2%
VW e-Golf 4,863 2%
BMW i3 4,854 2%
Kia Niro Plug-in 4,051 1%
Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in 2,810 1%
Jaguar I-Pace 2,594 1%
Mercedes GLC 350e Hybrid 2,459 1%
Mercedes C350We 2,172 1%
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid 1,958 1%
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in 1,765 1%
Hyundai Kona Electric 1,721 1%
Volvo-XC90 Plug-in 1,710 1%
Volvo XC60 Plug-in 1,682 1%


The Tesla Model Y is known to have high repair costs. As a result, in the U.S., many 2022 and 2023 Model Ys with low mileage are being salvaged rather than repaired.

Another major difference between the U.S.’ and China’s electric vehicle sales is the type of electric vehicle sold: all-electric or hybrid. Sixty-eight percent of electric vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2021 were hybrid, while only 32 percent were all-electric.3

Type of electric vehicle Number of sales in the U.S. in 2021 Percentage of total
Non plug-in hybrid electric 798,992 56%
Plug-in hybrid electric 173,457 12%
Electric 459,426 32%

Hybrids outpace all-electric vehicles in China as well. However, the difference is not as stark: 49 percent of electric vehicles sold in China in 2022 were hybrid, 19 percent were all-electric, and 31 percent were classified as “other,” meaning the powertrain type was not reported.

Will BYD Enter the U.S. Market?

While BYD has already entered some European markets, the manufacturer’s interest in U.S. distribution for two of its electric vehicle models has been complicated and delayed by several factors:

  • General anti-China sentiment in the U.S.
  • President Joe Biden’s prioritization of U.S.-manufactured EVs and batteries
  • Tension between Washington, D.C., and Beijing
  • The Inflation Reduction Act, which stipulates that EVs produced outside North America won’t be eligible for a $7,500 rebate

As of January 2023, BYD’s expansion into the U.S. was on pause, leaving Tesla’s grip on the U.S. EV market safe for now.4

EV Charging Stations: How China Outpaces the U.S.

One reason China’s adoption of all-electric vehicles outpaces that of the U.S. is the country’s abundance of charging stations. For every EV charging point in the U.S., there are 10 in China.5

Charging points China U.S. Difference
Total number of charging points in 2021 1.15 million 114,000 909%
Number of fast charging points in 2021 470,000 22,000 2,036%
Number of slow charging points in 2021 680,000 92,000 639%
Total charging points for 100 square miles 31 3 874%

In a survey by AAA, one-quarter of Americans said they want to buy an electric vehicle for their new car, but many expressed concerns about a lack of charging points. Here are some of the key findings from the survey:

  • 60 percent were concerned about not having enough charging points nearby.
  • 58 percent were concerned about running out of power while driving.
  • 55 percent said EVs were unsuitable for long-distance travel.
  • 31 percent weren’t able to install charging stations where they lived.6


If the Biden administration reaches its 50 percent electrification target, half of all vehicles sold will be EVs by 2030 — a total of 27.7 million vehicles.7

Although 77 percent of the surveyed Americans who want to buy EVs would like to save money on rising gas prices, the dearth of charging stations throughout the U.S. is a barrier to purchase.


  1. BYD #1 In World In Plugin Vehicle Sales In 2022. CleanTechnica. (2023, Feb 7).

  2. Maps and Data – U.S. Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales by Model. U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center. (2023).

  3. Hybrid-Electric, Plug-in Hybrid-Electric and Electric Vehicle Sales. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (2023).

  4. China’s BYD takes cautious approach to U.S. in global EV push. Reuters. (2023, Jan 18).

  5. Global EV Data Explorer. International Energy Agency. (2023, May 23).

  6. Americans Reveal Fresh Thoughts on Electric Vehicles. AAA Newsroom. (2022, Jul 13).

  7. Why the automotive future is electric. McKinsey & Company. (2021, Sep 7).