With China’s and BYD’s success has come more scrutiny.
Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, warned about the strength of Chinese electric car exports in a company earnings call in January. “Frankly, I think if there are not trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other companies in the world,” he said.
The rapid gains by BYD and other Chinese automakers in Europe have prompted a European Union investigation of Chinese government subsidies and could result in tariffs. BYD’s annual reports show a total of $2.6 billion in government assistance from 2008 through 2022. And that does not include other help, like making sure that taxi companies in BYD’s hometown buy only BYD electric cars.
BYD declined to comment about subsidies. In a statement, the company said the BYD Explorer No. 1, its new ship, “signifies a significant milestone for BYD as it expands into international markets and contributes to the development of the global new-energy vehicle industry.”
China has built enough factories to make more than twice as many cars as its market can buy. That has led to a price war in China, particularly between BYD and Tesla, with discounting that has inflicted heavy losses. One of BYD’s newest models, the subcompact Seagull, starts at less than $11,000.