The Warren Buffett-backed automaker sold more electric cars in March than Nio and Xpeng delivered

The Chinese battery and electric vehicle manufacturer BYD is showing a model of its Han EV series at the 2020 Beijing Motor Show.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

BEIJING – The Chinese automaker BYD sold more than twice as many battery-powered electric cars as the start-up Nio, which was delivered in March.

BYD, backed by US billionaire Warren Buffett, announced Tuesday that sales of its battery-powered passenger cars were 16,301 units for the past month.

That is more than double Nio’s deliveries of 7,257 cars in March. The competing start-up Xpeng delivered even fewer vehicles last month with 5,102 units. Both companies still exceeded analysts’ expectations with these numbers.

In the new energy vehicle category, which includes both hybrid and all-electric cars, BYD sold more than 23,000 units in March – a total of 53,380 cars in the first quarter.

BYD sold 49,394 units in the first quarter, almost as many oil-powered vehicles.

Electric car sales come as China’s auto market recovers from the coronavirus pandemic that hit the country hardest in Q1 2020.

New vehicle registrations rose to a record high of 9.66 million in the first quarter of this year, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said on Tuesday. The data showed that 466,000 new energy vehicles accounted for just over 6% of newly registered cars.

The proportion of purely electric new vehicles that are purely electric nationwide was 81.5% in the first quarter, which, according to public safety, roughly corresponds to the rate in 2020.

When it comes to the global market, China’s electric car manufacturers still have a huge gap to fill.

Tesla, the electric car leader, announced last week it had shipped 184,800 cars worldwide in the first quarter. While the US electric car maker did not release any figures for China, the company stated in a press release: “We are encouraged by the strong acceptance of the Model Y in China and are rapidly reaching full production capacity.”

Elon Musk’s auto company began shipping a China-made Model Y in January. The car was the third-best-selling new energy vehicle in China in February, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

According to an investor presentation at the end of January, Tesla installed an annual production capacity for 200,000 Model Y units at its Shanghai plant.

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