BYD executive says Tesla is a ‘partner’ in electrification

Credit: BYD

An executive from Chinese automaker BYD has called Tesla a “partner” in electrifying the transportation sector, noting the U.S. company’s role in helping popularize and educate the public about electric vehicles (EVs).

In an interview between Yahoo Finance and BYD Executive Vice President Stella Li on Monday, Li told the publication she thought the global EV market couldn’t have come to exist the way it does without Tesla. She also said BYD “respected” Tesla a lot, adding that the U.S. automaker is both a “marketing leader” and an important factor in pushing the automotive industry into more sustainable technology.

“Without [Tesla], I think the global EV market could not run so rapidly,” Li said to Yahoo Finance anchor Akiko Fujita. “So we respect them a lot. I think they are a partner and also they are like a way together, we can really help the whole world. To educate the market and push the market for transaction.”

Li went on to describe automakers that make internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles as “the real competition,” adding that BYD considers itself a partner with all EV makers, including Tesla.

“The more people jumping to produce EV is better for the industry,” Li added.

In the past, Li has also called Tesla a “very respected industry peer,” seemingly echoing Tesla’s approach that leaves room for other automakers to produce and help popularize EVs — ultimately resulting in a cleaner transportation sector.

The latest statements come after BYD overtook Tesla as a global producer of electric vehicles for the first time in Q4 2023, though not for the whole year. Tesla hit its 2023 delivery guidance of 1.8 million units globally, and CEO Elon Musk responded to the situation, noting that he considers the U.S. automaker more of an AI and robotics company than just a seller of cars.

Musk has also given BYD similar praise in the past, last year saying that the Chinese automaker’s cars are “highly competitive these days.” The kind words also come as Musk has criticized many other automakers within both the gas and EV spaces, with the billionaire recently saying that Rivian and Lucid could go bankrupt in the next six quarters.

You can read the full Yahoo Finance Q&A with BYD Executive VP Stella Li here.

Tesla rivals Rivian and Lucid receive harsh prediction from Elon Musk

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BYD executive says Tesla is a ‘partner’ in electrification
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