BYD Chairman: “BYD Could Make a Tesla” As Soon As Demand Exists


Tesla Model S in China

Tesla Model S in China

Some of China’s automakers don’t seem to be too impressed by what Tesla Motors has achieved with its Model S.

BYD Dancers

BYD Dancers

Take, for example, BYD founder and chairman Wang Chuanfu.  As Chuanfu states:

“BYD could make a Tesla as soon as consumer demand for electric cars really takes off.”

Implying that BYD already has the capability to develop and build a vehicle with Tesla Model S capabilities.

BYD is not alone in this though.

Xu Heyi, chairman of China’s BAIC, was asked if he thought Tesla was the Apple of automakers.  His response:

“Impossible.  [I’m] certain about that.”

If you recall, BYD’s Chuanfu previously called the Tesla Model S a “rich man’s toy,” so it’s obvious to us that he doesn’t think too highly of the California-based automaker.

Source: South China Morning Post

Categories: BYD, Tesla


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41 Comments on "BYD Chairman: “BYD Could Make a Tesla” As Soon As Demand Exists"

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With this Ukraine thing, demand will shoot up and the fish will start jumping in the fishing boat from the water if it is not already.

The Ukraine thing?

Which makes natural gas more expensive and hard to get.

More EV’s -> more electricity needed -> More natural gas and coal burned (at least in Europe). -> more demand for natural gas and higher dependency.

The Ukraine thing will surely make the european countries look once or twice more on how they produce their energy but it’s definitely not a help for EV’s, rather the other way around.
At least in the short run now when EV’s are getting established.

The Ukraine thing is also about Russian oil, diesel, and petrol that Putin sells to Europe and uses the money to intimidate other countries, including Europeans, and wage wars at his will.

So far Europe is letting him do whatever he wants, and nobody knows where a crazy schisophrenic stops if at all.

Not really. That oil is possible to get from other countries. The big difference will be that it might be a bit more expensive and people might have to drive a bit less.
And that export is the biggest income for Russia so it would hurt them like crazy, way more than Europe if they stopped delivering oil.

Their natural gas on the other hand is used for electricity and heating and only cutting the gas off for a few days or a few weeks would hurt Europe a lot.

The gas is the short term concern affected by the Ukraine crisis. The oil is about long term solutions to dependency on Russia.

I think it cuts both ways, and is not necessarily worse for EV, than ICE. The rotation from nuclear sparked more stories of coal’s expansion, not natural gas, and Russia isn’t a big exporter on that front. As with the US, a lot is being made of how NG’s shared use is in both heat and electric. We are having bigger problems, now, in the winter, in both New England and the PJM (Midwest/mid-atlantic). It’s mostly pipes.

Of course, the environment is the big loser in all of this. I wish I knew more, but have heard unverified, that compressing NG to LNG costs almost a third of its energy content. If the US (geo-politically) ramps up LNG exports, it could be a strategy to deny Russia revenues to Europe, but the domestic politics will go beyond the environment, in coming years, and include price effects here, at home.


Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Perhaps, though not in France.

Then again, electrics tend to be so efficient that you could double or triple the cost of power relative to fuels in many places and still be ahead of the game, though in such an event the cost of fuels will likely also rise at least as quickly.

‘Tis a shame more nuclear isn’t on line, how many more resource shocks will the world have to endure before modern nuclear (molten salt reactors such as LFTR) finally gets past NIMBYs and ecomorons?

I can say that too. “I’m going to build a Tesla as soon as demand exists.”


Exactly, talk is cheap.

How could there ever be demand for a luxury car with speed and class that would not have to compete in the license plate lottery because of being an EV from a local chinese company?

Surely they would only be able to sell a few… hundred thousand that is… per year and who would ever consider that enough demand?

Let’s hope that the Tesla demand will show them that there is a lot of money to be made by selling a Tesla-esque EV too.

SIMPLE PUT the tesla thru a copying machine and call it a day

I have my concerns that this is precisely the thought process.

It’s like when Microsoft said “we will build an iPod, call it Zune”. Oops, total fail. BYD can’t build a Tesla because they aren’t Tesla.

We were in China last summer and I asked my brother-in-law, who works for a Beijing bank what people thought of BYD, since I had heard about their “big plans” to make ev’s. He said BYD has a reputation for mediocre quality and cheapness. There’s a reason Chinese brands aren’t viewed as being as desirable as foreign brands.

The interesting thing is that if Tesla needs a Chinese partner in order to sell cars that aren’t constrained by the registration lottery, BYD would be a logical choice, since they already have some background in ev’s. A combination of BYD’s market access and Tesla’s phenomenal quality and stellar customer service would probably lead to good things. They could both benefit from the other.

Yes, that would be the difference between BYD and Tesla. BYD waits for consumer demand, Tesla creates consumer demand by creating an inspiring product (and refueling model, sales model, and service model).

Despite the fact that Chinese are choking on brown air, BYD will wait for someone to show them how it’s done.

*Chuanfu is apparently oblivious to the fact that innovative products are never led by the consumer.


Nobody will buy a $100 K car made in China.

Why not?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Because Chinese stuff is knockoff junk.

It doesn’t have to be, but it is often enough for Chinese themselves to go looking for western brands.

Culturally, Chinese tend to be ripoff artists and try to get one over on others, rather than to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Western brands have a reputation for quality and work-ethic, which may or may not be deserved, but Chinese vote with their wallets.

Racist comment.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Reality is racist.

Sexist too, for that matter.

Really? Western brands are ethically superior? Guess that’s why 13 year olds are working in sweatshops in Bangladesh for your pair of Western brand jeans and people are jumping of building’s at Foxconn because of the ethical production of you iPad.

Your comment is not only racist, it’s also factually wrong.

Do try to stay on topic – you need to compare apples with apples. In this case, a Tesla vs a Tesla knockoff.

How is this comment racist “Chinese stuff is knockoff junk”?

It’s reality and folks need to get off their Politically-Correct high horse.

I’m Chinese. The Chinese are capable of building quality products but right now, their economy is centered on building things cheap and in volume, because nobody will buy a Chinese branded quality product – they are were Taiwan was decades ago.

So yes, most made in China products (even Western branded) are cheap junk. My Charbroil grill, my kids’ toys, etc. Capitalistic America wants it that way (though I heard Walmart is trying to be different). I know executives of large American companies (e.g. Apple, Intel) with factories in China. Every time they need to cut cost, they will squeeze the Chinese supply chain. So you get cheap junk.

Race is not a factor.

True. In my experience, Chinese work very hard – crazy hard, long hours – but for a quick buck by any means necessary (cheap, exytreme cost cuts, mediocre quality products).

Their attitude appears more purely capitalist than ours (in the US) – such as if the political conservatives in the US would get their way by reducing or eliminating regulations (environmental, labor, safety, etc.). We’d be in the same boat in no time.

It wasn’t until the pollution got waaay over the top, that the Chinese started to pay attention to something beyond the bottom line of the spreadsheet.

US corporations are the same way. See how much they can get away with for as long as possible for the quick buck…never mind that “a stitch in time saves nine”…

Will you buy a Cartier watch like brand form China? or a high end TV for $30.000 plus made in China???
Of course not China produce cheap goods but quality is notorious to be bad. I don’t know any luxury brand from China on anything. I went to South America where Chinese luxury cars as Ssangyong “45.000 US” is sold and the quality is horrible, they look nice as Toyota brads but really bad cars.

Is that why more Mercedes S-Class sedans are sold in China than any other country?


Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

They build S-class Benzes in China?


Nobody could make a orginal Tesla, they could only copy… Tesla will always be associated with Musk, the pioneer, the revolutioner, the rebell of car industry. I love Elon, and if they bring a cheaper Model E I buy it. I would also buy it if BMW Audi would biuld a better EV, because the big ones only do it reach CO2 aims…

As soon as the demand exists? So does he think Tesla is lying about their sales?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Frankly, I believe Elon Musk would be _thrilled_ if BYD did as its founder said.

But then again, perhaps they’d make such a hash of it that people would be turned off EVs the way they were turned off of shitty GM diesels.

In any event, the more competition in the EV space, the better. Put up or shut up.

China is simply waiting for Tesla to build its plant in China. Then some landside will block access to the road leading to the plant and the Chinese military will block access for “safety reasons”. Then Tesla will have no way to produce cars, eventually abwndoming the plant and the nature of the plant agreement will have the plant revert to China. amazingly, the road will be fixed within days

I’d still cynically suggest the Daimler partnership prohibits BYD’s attempting to compete. By using OE parts by co’s like Bilstein, Tesla is already reaching into a better German parts bin than its German competitors.

And then there is this guy spouting off, in China. He’s another reason Musk can keep laughing, at the mention of BYD.

A lack of being impressed cannot be taken as a western reaction. The Chinese react this way whenever they are threatened by an outside technology developer… While China may well be able to create a similar copy, their inability will lie in the firmware that runs the vehicle and the software machine Elon has created. Silicon Valley is ahead for a reason, and most Chinese use IBM (or Lenovo) laptops to run Windows…

Chicken then Egg. Egg then Chicken. Awesome EV then Customer Demand. Customer Demand then Awesome EV…

Hmmm. Confucius say such temporal relationships can be confusing… 😉

Only thing missing from Chuanfu’s comment is “… hold my beer.” Honda built a Prius when it saw demand. It was called the Insight. I’m using past tense because the Insight is now discontinued. People know the Monkees from the Beatles.

Second-gen Insight, I’m talking about.

If BYD and BAIC think it is so easy to do, why don’t they make it and propose it for real to the people on the market. As long as the competition is a “would be” product, it is exactly the same as a non existing product. If you can do it or not, it doesn’t make a difference if you don’t do it anyway.

My opinion is that they would have some hard work mastering the serial production of aluminum frames and making a compact induction motor with an as compact power electronics part. Even mastering the Lithium cells packing would not be that evident if they really start to try it. There is a lot of apparent ease in the Model S that turn out very complicated things once you get in the details and do it for real.

Their culture is based in part on saving face, at all costs. You will never hear them admit to any failing or shortcoming. They’ll put up an image and talk a good show, regardless of whether they can back it up. In the case of a Tesla-like EV, they probably can’t.

To be reasonable, though, even Western companies will not readily admit a weakness. But instead of pretending that they can do something that someone else does better, they just emphasize a different part of their business…divert attention, rather than outright lie.

And then came along the marketing of the B-Class EDs from Daimler…