BYD Chairman: Tesla Model S is a “Rich Man’s Toy”


Base Price in China for 85 kWh Version

Base Price in China for 85 kWh Version – Equates to Roughly $121,000 USD

Let the war of words begin.

Gone is the 60 kWH Version in China - Your Choices Are Limited to 85 kWH and P85 Versions of the Model S

Gone is the 60 kWH Version in China – Your Choices Are Limited to 85 kWH and P85 Versions of the Model S

BYD chairman Wang Chuanfu has been paraphrased (from an original interview in Chinese, we assume) as calling the Tesla Model S a “rich man’s toy.”

Chuanfu apparently believes that only a small segment of the wealthiest individuals in China will be able to afford the Model S, despite what Tesla says is a reasonable price tag on the vehicle in China.

Chuanfu states that BYD manufacturers vehicles that are “mass oriented and designed for everyone.”

BYD claims to be not concerned with Tesla’s entry into the Chinese market.



The BYD Qin, an EREV, is expected to be a “hot seller this year,” says Chuanfu.  The Qin undercuts the Model S price substantially.  With a base MSRP of only 189,800 yuan (compared to the Model S base MSRP in China of 734,000 yuan) there’s no question that the Qin will appeal to a wider swath of potential buyers, but BYD has not had much success in the past in selling its plug-ins.  Perhaps Qin will change that.

Quoting Chuanfu:

“In a short time, the Qin will become a best-selling automobile in Shanghai, and this success will carry over into other markets.  This process is already happening quickly.  Currently, the demand for the Qin exceeds our supply.”

  • Qin: 189,800 yuan – $31,236 USD
  • Tesla Model S: 734,000 yuan = $121,000 USD

So, yes there’s a huge discrepancy in price tags, but we think there’s room for both to succeed in terms of sales in China.

What’ll be more interesting to watch is US sales of the Qin when it launches here in 2015.  That is, if it does actually make it to the US.

Source: South China Morning Post

Category: Tesla


42 responses to "BYD Chairman: Tesla Model S is a “Rich Man’s Toy”"
  1. scottf200 says:

    You have to believe the next decade in China is going to be an EV explosion if they can figure out cleaner ways to make electricity.
    Title: Smog chokes China as public, experts demand change
    Motivatation: “BEIJING – China banned outdoor school sports and cookouts as it grappled with a fourth straight day of thick, choking smog, a pollution problem that a recent report says makes Beijing “barely suitable” for living. Beijing maintained its orange pollution alert Monday, the second-highest level of an official warning and response system introduced nationwide last October. “

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Yeah, their coal plants don’t have to remove 99% of the SO2 and 90% of the Mercury that US plants meet (until they were, or soon to be shut down, due to carbon taxes). Its obvious to me that our Coal plants substantially cause no polution, since the investor owned plants took the little bit of sludge remaining and sold it to Gypsum board companies.

      People of course, want to claim CO2 ( A basic Building Block of Biology ), is a ‘pollutant’, but then Tell me why the most Delicate Flower will flourish in an environment ten times what our atmosphere has now.

      I think the basic smog causing gasoline engine particulates are the cause of most chinese smog, that plus a lack of most pollution controls for most factories.

      “Global Warming”, and other Fictions that were the brainstorm of such people like Kenneth Lay (ENRON – people in California fell for his first scam – that of electricity ‘degregulation’, and then wondered why the lights went out when paying 3 times the price), Al Gore, Maurice Strong and others may still play out on the coasts, but where I live after these few past winters will have a very hard sell, and will eventually won’t be believed by any majority that matters. What with 929,000 square miles of increased ice extent in only 12 months in the Arctic (and the lack of a Northwest Passage, which did happen to exist 110 years ago) indicates that claims of “THE EARTH HAS A FEVER !!!!” are just bedwetting, in Al Gore’s case making him $100 million richer due to his carbon credits business. IN fact Global Warming expeditions by so-called experts cock-sure of a northwest passage ended up getting stuck in the ice, having to be freed by Russian Icebreakers as well as that GW expedition to the Antartic that also got stuck earlier this year for the same reason (too much unexpected Ice).

      IN fact there has been no ‘global warming’ for the past 17 years, and for the past year at least, there has been Global Cooling, the earth doing what it is doing in spite of protests from pseudo-environmentalists. If they were really worried about something serious, they might take a look at the Fukushima radioactive 3000 mile wide ‘plume’ about to attack the entire US west coast starting a month or two from now. Be interesting if anyone on the coast starts complaining about a metalic taste in their mouth,

      1. MDEV says:

        @Bill Howland The therm has been change is call climate change, I guess is easy to handle by the deniers who believe are smarter than 95% of the scientists of the world.

        1. DocDragon says:


          Thank you!

        2. Bill Howland says:

          I suppose after mentioning it, sooner or later I’m going to have to do it, so here’s a list of 13 Climatologists and/or IPCC Lead Authors:

          Prof Dr. Nir Shaviv – University of Tel Aviv “Three to Ten times CO2 in the past as currently”.

          Prof Dr. Tim Ball, Dept of Climatology, Winnipeg, “Most important Greenhouse Gas is Water, 95%”.

          Prof Dr. Ian Clark, Dept of Eath Sciences, University of Ottawa “Co2 lags temperature changes by 800 years, Co2 never drove climate change in the past”.

          Prof Dr. John Christy, IPCC Lead Author, Given award for developing new method for measuring temperatures in the atmosphere; “Water is the most important Greenhouse Gas”.

          Dr. Piers Corbyn, Climate Forecaster, Weather Action. Bet money against England’s pretigious Met office and Won cash, several times. “No changes in climate due to Co2 in the past 1000 years”.

          Prof Dr Philip Stott, Dept of Biogeography, University of London, “London was much warmer in the middle age warm period, confirmed by Chaucer, than now”.

          Prof Dr. Paul Rieter, IPCC and Pasteur Institute, Paris : ” Malaria not a tropical disese, biggest outbreak reaching Arcangelsk at the Arctic Circle killed 600,000 in the early 20th century”. Also, ‘2500 of the world’s top scientists are bogus once you look at bibliographies, since the climatology scientific field is small. Plus if you disagree with the conclusions, it dosesn’t matter since they won’t take your name off the list”.

          Prof Dr. Richard Lindzen, IPCC & MIT ” Whenever you hear that all scientists agree and therefore you should too, in Science that is Pure Propganda”. “The one thing you Shouldn’t say, is ‘this may not be a problem’.” (!!!)

          Patrick Moore, Cofounder of Greenpeace, AGW nonsense is killing Africa, preventing life saving development.

          Dr. Roy Spencer, Weather Satelite Team Leader, NASA ” If it can be indicated that a catastrophe is near, then all kinds of money will flow to your research project”.

          Prof Dr. Patrick Michaels, Dept of Environmental Services, University of Virginia, “Anyone who goes around saying AGW is responsible for the 20th century warming, hasn’t looked at the basic numbers.” , and, “Tens of thousands of jobs depend on AGW now, its a BIG BUSINESS”

          Nigel Calder, Ex Editor, “New Scientist”, “AGW is a religion”, and “the whole thing stinks”, and “its a Looney Idea”.

          Dr. Frederick Singer, Ex-Director US National Weather Service, “Computer Models of increased AGW are disproved by the temperature evidence”.

          Prof Dr. Syun-ichi Akasofu, Director, International Arctic Resource Centre; “Co2 greatly increased between 1940 and 1975, temperature went way down”, and “Arctic Ice Extent is seasonal and will cause no problems”.

          This is a pretty good cross section of people, many with impecable credentials (such as John Christy, the very TOP of his field). who stated the “Inconvenient

          I’m not smarter than 95% of the scientists. But maybe I’m smarter than most people who make broad politically correct generalizations without documentation, which incidentally is a much broader representation by leaders in their field than any I’ve seen you make, no offense.

          1. Mint says:

            “But maybe I’m smarter than most people who make broad politically correct generalizations without documentation”

            Well, you’ve certainly proven otherwise with your posts here…

          2. Chris O says:

            Wow, they used to burn people at the stake for stuff like this you know! In case you didn’t get the memo subscribing to the anthropogenic climate change theory isn’t actually voluntary and bad things happen to deniers as I’m sure the people you mentioned have experienced. Just too much money and power is at stake here. Believers are quite open about that BTW:


            1. Bill Howland says:

              Yeah, Tim Ball has had his life threatened allready.

              But it doesn’t matter what I think, since in the end its a numbers game.

              Of course the situation is worse in Japan, where it *IS* against the law to state things which can be construed as going against governmental policy by the ABE administration.

              And as far as Nuclear Power goes, I guess I could argue, as Ann Colter does that Nuclear Radiation is good for you (she’s a lawyer, so that statement has about 1% truth to it, rather like sitting in front of a orange-hot coal fire is good for you, but swallowing one of the coal whole is another matter).

              Or, I could argue as does the head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency that “If you Smile, then Radiation can’t hurt you.”.

              That’s why at a certain point I just give my points of view a limited defense. This is a car blog after all, and I’m just peppering up a slow news week.

      2. Mint says:

        I think it’s pretty clear who is the ignorant one here when you’re making claims of global cooling on a laughable scale of a single year. I also love your cherry-picked 17-year figure.

        I don’t even care about combating GHGs (due to poor ROI vs other humanitarian issues), but you’re not helping the cause against hasty action with your stupidity.

        Metallic taste? LOL. Projected concentrations are on the order of 10-100 Bq/m3, i.e. trillionths of grams of cesium per cubic meter:
        Even if Cesium tasted as strong as copper (taste threshold ~2mg/L), you’re off by OVER TEN ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE.

        Even if we take upper estimates of ~1000 premature deaths from Fukushima, which is the only deadly accident ever for contained nuclear power plants, how does that even compare to 50,000 premature deaths PER YEAR due to coal in the US? Or 53,000 deaths per year from vehicles?

        Yeah, emissions are better than in China, where tens of millions of person-years are lost each year due to pollution, but it’s still a very real problem. EVs and next-gen nuclear are the solution, and will save us money, too.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          No comment. Your info is at best out of date, and that’s putting lipstick on it.

          1. TomArt says:

            Bill: “It’s not real!”

            …while drowning in the rising sea levels…

      3. DocDragon says:


        First of all, I do applaud you for your enthusiasm, but I think we need to put a few things into perspective.

        If you look hard enough, you *will* find “proof” for anything that you are looking for, so it doesn’t matter how many sources you list. And for someone who’s been in academics for a while, I cannot stress enough how attention-seeking some individuals are. This is not just about publishing papers, but getting funds for your own department based on your reputation and past research. (Anyway, this is one of the reasons I don’t post my real name).

        BTW, people like to use the word “proof” for everything, although an estimated 90% of scientific papers are “inferences,” meaning conclusions based on observations, numbers, etc.

        Did you know that there is *no* proof that smoking causes cancer? Although we “know” that smoking causes cancer, there is no scientific proof, only evidence! The gold standard of a “proof” would be a randomized, double-blind study — although double-blind would not really fit here when talking about smoking. This study would imply that we would divide a “large” number of people into two groups: one that smokes, and one that doesn’t. We would need to be able to observe this large group over their lifetime in order compensate for genetic variations, environmental influences, etc. Only then would you gather data that qualifies as “proof!” Can we do such a study? Of course, not — especially not from ethical and practical stand points.

        The same applies here: If you want to have “proof” that global warming exists, you would need to have 2 identical Earths: one that emits billions of tons of CO2, and one that doesn’t. Then you compare…

        It is true that when you look at the past 400,000+ years, our climate has undergone a pretty regular temperature swing. Some people observed an interesting correlation between the Earth’s climate change and the activity of our sun (sun flares). On that large time scale, our current climate change is a drop in the bucket. But considering that we would like to live in a healthy environment for the time being and for a foreseeable future, it’s those little temperature changes that will have a huge impact on us and that we need to address.

        Everyone seems to agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but not everyone agrees that the CO2 is the culprit for our current climate change. And as I mentioned before, it is true that there is no “proof” what causes a climate change.

        BTW, you mentioned that global temperatures declined between the 1940s and 1970s — which is correct. However, if you dig a little bit into the cause of it, you will find that this period of time was the “rise of industrialization” (to make it sound more ominous). Tons and tons of sulfur particles were emitted into the atmosphere, and those particles blocked out sunlight. Therefore, Earth was heated up less. So, if you *only* looked at the CO2 output, it would indeed appear that CO2 did not cause any temperature changes. But once filtering systems were mandated, temperatures started to rise again.

        Or is maybe methane (another greenhouse gas) to be blamed for our climate change due to increased agriculture to feed our population? According to the EPA, methane is 21x more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2!

        But whatever you would like to “believe,” my stance is simple: When I see billion and billion tons of CO2 released into our air, I can safely conclude that there *will* be consequences for our climate. When I consider the properties of CO2 and see the correlation between the *rapid* rise of CO2 and the *rapid* rise of our global temperature, then it is very “compelling” for me that CO2 is the culprit — until proven otherwise. And I’m not even talking about the dangers of ocean acidification due to CO2.

        Of course, you can choose to ignore the warnings because there is no “proof” (and again in that, you are correct). However, if there is no problem, then why should anybody act? Should we wait until everything around us dies before we realize that there “may” have been a problem?

        We are all 20/20 in hindsight — otherwise, nobody would wear a seat belt… 😉

        1. Bill Howland says:

          We don’t have to have alternate Universes to deduce what happened in the past and what is likely in the future. Catholic historians aready know the answer from St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings. BTW, I’m not Catholic.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          If he’s never come up with anyone who can disagree with his argument, his sample size is either too small or he wasn’t listening. We already know what Europe is like during ‘global warming’. Its called either disparagingly the ‘middle-ages’, (what some historians have called the Brilliant Ages just prior to the ‘renaissance’) during the period of the great Cathedral Builders and Guild workers.

          Obviously I didn’t live at the time, but it couldn’t have been all Knights fighting dragons since there must have been some time for the skilled trades to perfect their crafts through various Guilds. This was when it was hot enough for Grain at the cost of Greenland and the growing of Grapes in London (hence the names of streets Vine Lane, Vineyard Way, etc. that survive to this day).

          His argument is a non-starter for various reasons, but the big one is that we simply don’t have to guess. People in western civilization have experienced the globe much warmer than today, and the only issue that seems to resonate with me repeatedly is it is a period of Great Wealth.

          Hundreds of little churches with stained glass windows don’t come cheeply.

          I for one WANT some warming. I used to not mind winter, but these winters around here are getting darn near unbearable. But that’s just me.

          What is going to kill the issue is not what I think or you think, but what the vast majority of people think, and I hate to spring it to you, but the wind is blowing in the wrong direction.

          1. kdawg says:

            I don’t think you understand the scale of the warming. The video to me was about choosing the lesser of two evils. It’s a risk assessment. We need to minimize the risks.

            1. Bill Howland says:

              Oh I understand it, it would be better perhaps if you knew what St. Thomas Aquinas’ account of it is, if there’s any interest in digging it up, which I seriously suspect there is not.

              I gave a list of 11 Big Climatologists’ Expert statements on the subject. Again you might want to peruse what they have said. But I doubt it.

              The only one here who has enough interest in putting a light on what might be considered new information is

  2. Aaron says:

    The BYD Qin is NOT an EREV. Your own linked article calls it a “plug-in hybrid”. Be consistent.

    1. Chris O says:

      The difference being?

      1. Aaron says:

        The difference between a serial hybrid and a parallel hybrid. My main concern is that they’re not consistent with their terminology for this vehicle.

        1. Chris O says:

          PHEV is not defined as a parallel hybrid as far as I know. It’s just a hybrid with a plug, just like EREVs. Also mind that the “EREV” Volt will function as a parallel hybrid under some circumstances.

        2. Mikael says:

          Both a serial hybrids and a parallel hybrids are hybrids and are called PHEV’s (plug-in HYBRID electrical vehicles), as long as they have a plug that is.

          EREV is a new concept which is when an electric car gets the option to add a small range extender. The only car that actually is an EREV so far is the BMW i3 REx.

          Chevrolet is trying to call their PHEV’s for EREVs but even if you put lipstick on a pig it’s still pork even if you try to call it beef. Chevrolet started a trend of calling PHEVs EREVs and for some reason other companies now do the same to their PHEVs.

          1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

            BEVx is an EREV, is a PHEV, is an HEV.
            The key differentiator between an EREV and PHEV is full performance in EV mode, making range the limiti g factor. The only limitation on the Volt is the engine running below 15F, but other than that it qualifies. And for the nth time, before anyone says otherwise: the Volt will operate in parallel mode at certain times, but only if it’s already in CS or Hold mode.

            1. Bill Howland says:

              Yeah, this alphabet soup in general I’m frustrated with. It takes less time explaining the exact mechanisms then it does explaining all the acronyms.

          2. kdawg says:

            The acronym EREV did not exist before GM coined it. Fisker I believe decided to call the Karma an EVER.

  3. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    China’s investing pretty heavily in clean, modern nuclear tech, and their LFTR research is especially promising. It’s a shame that we’ll probably be importing modern LFTRs from them given how ORNL invented them 50 years ago, but better getting them from somewhere than continuing to burn fossils or use unsafe elderly reactor tech.

  4. Chris O says:

    As it happens China is full of rich people looking for toys. Seems to me it’s Tesla that has the winning formula on its hand in China.

  5. Two responses:

    “The grapes, they are sour!”

    Mr Wang Chuanfu, how’s the BYD sales plan going?

  6. JakeY says:

    It’ll be funny if the Model S still outsells the Qin despite costing 4x as much (a real possibility given Model S sales numbers vs other plug-ins in the US market, and China’s large population of rich people).

  7. TomArt says:

    A toy is something with limited utility and may or may not be used often.

    The Model S does not fit this description. It’s a daily driver for many Model S owners – for some, it’s their only car! That’s not a toy. That is a car.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      And there are plenty of millionaires and billionaires in China, since as the 20th century was the USA’s, so the 21st will be China’s. They can afford plenty of Toys, which most certainly makes Tesla Stockholders happy.

  8. ffbj says:

    Humans inevitably impact the environments in which they live, the more humans the more impact, and that impact is almost entirely negative. That is incontrovertible fact based on thousands of years. Of course we are not the only thing that has negative impacts.
    For instance Texas had a hundred year drought back in the 7th century or so where it rained like 10 inches. So we can certainly say that not every climatology disaster, a disaster caused by extended periods of extreme divergences from more normal weather patterns, is caused in part or whole by humankind. Nonetheless, Earth is our nest and we are fouling it. But unlike beavers we just can’t move to another location and wreck that too, we are running out of locations to wreck. We can however wreck the place less slowly, and try to fix some things to allow the planet to heal itself. The earth’s atmosphere is like a vessel of clear water that is slowly being filled with a black ink.

    Probably just preachin’ to the choir..

  9. James says:

    I’m surprised nobody’s commented on the Subaru grille yet.

    I mean, it’s nearly an exact knockoff of the newest Subie’s grille!
    Which is, on it’s own, very weird. You’d think if they want to
    copy ( carbon copy – I know…I know… I couldn’t resist! 🙂 ) they’d
    actually pick an attractive car. Subaru of all things – is not known
    as a car company with design flair
    – case in point.

    We’re still going online and finding “funny” webpages with scores of
    pictures of Chinese cars that brazenly copy BMWs, Mercedes and Hondas.
    I think BYD and some other Chinese automakers may someday gain
    our respect when they stop copying and start innovating. Body and grille
    design could be a good start.

    1. James says:

      I’m old enough to remember the ’60s and early ’70s. Back then, Japan
      was the copycat. You saw cars and products of all kinds coming out of
      Japan that plain copied everything western. The bad part was that their
      products stunk up the place. “Made In Japan” was the butt of many
      jokes – even cartoons on TV would show something fail and say,
      “Made In Japan” on the bottom. In the end, we all know that Japan
      triumphed in the manufacturing and marketing game – it only took them
      a couple decades to trounce American cars and electronics. Today
      we see Korea begin to show Japan and America a thing or two and
      we’re past the “Japan Is Number One” nonsense of the nineties.

      It’s ebb-and-flow boys, they rise and fall. So far, China is still in that
      learning stage, but I’m sure we’ll live to see innovative, quality products
      come from the Communist’s shores. Question is, will we buy them
      because of price, like we did Japanese, then S. Korean products, or
      will our ideals kick in?

  10. Mark C says:

    “BYD chairman Wang Chuanfu has been paraphrased (from an original interview in Chinese, we assume) as calling the Tesla Model S a “rich man’s toy.””

    Sounds like pure and simple jealousy to me. Just sayin’

  11. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

    I think the Qin will be a failure but is a learning exercise for BYD. it will sell reasonably well but not in the volumes they need to be successful. If they can persist and turn the crank again to get the quality up to par with the Koreans they will be a real force. The big challenge is that hybrid technology has the most complexity in autos. A pure BEV is simple by comparison.

    I think the Hybrid auto makers should be more worried about this company than Tesla.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Let’s see:
      Well, I guess we’re well past ignore and somewhere between laugh and fight.

  12. Jay Cole says:

    This comment thread is awesome.

    /that is all

  13. kdawg says:

    I wonder what Wang Chuanfu thinks of the Cadillac ELR commercial, LOL.