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Tesla is Already Losing Market Share

Instead of wasting all their time on Twitter like some famous CEOs, the smart folks at sustainable energy news site Clean Technica published the latest global electric vehicle (EV) market share numbers for the September quarter. They say that Tesla lost 3.5 points of share year over year in the quarter in sales of fully electric cars worldwide. Chinese car maker BYD (which stands for “Build Your Dreams,” did you know?) gained 5.9 points of share in the same period.

At this rate, BYD, a company backed by legendary investor Warren Buffett, will catch up to Tesla as the world’s top electric car maker by volume in June 2023, they say at Clean Technica. In the year through September, Tesla delivered over 909k cars for 18.5 percent share or over 15 percent less than a year ago, compared to BYD’s 584k for an 11.9 percent share in the same period, nearly doubling their share from a year ago. That’s just BYD’s fully electric cars; they also sell plug-in hybrids, and if you add up the two categories, they already are the world’s leader in share.

However, you cannot buy a BYD EV in the U.S. because they are not for sale here. The U.S. government will probably keep it that way amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and China. On the other hand, Tesla does sell in China, so BYD is making all their progress this year in a more competitive environment than Tesla’s. Tesla also made about half the cars they sold this year in their Chinese factory, so the geopolitical risk is higher for them than for BYD.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 won the 2023 SUV of the year by MotorTrend

Other than a Tesla, one EV you can buy in the U.S. is a Hyundai. The Hyundai-Kia group sold 247k fully electric cars this year through September for a 5 percent global share. As we discussed before, the Korean group has made noticeable progress with their electric cars in the U.S. market this year.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 was voted the 2022 EV of the Year by Car and Driver magazine. The Ioniq 5 also won the prestigious 2023 SUV of the year award by MotorTrend magazine, beating not just other electric cars but all internal combustion SUVs, one of America’s most popular car formats.  

The reviews highlight innovative technology in the Ioniq 5 that lets it charge faster than other electric cars. It’s also one of the few cars to offer 300 miles of range on a single charge for less than $60,000.

But I don’t have $60,000

The $3,000 Pedego City Commuter Mid Drive

Would you believe that electric bikes outsell all other electric vehicles? Even in the U.S., with our taste for giant cars, people bought 790k electric bikes compared to 652k electric cars in 2021, according to Bloomberg. That was a 70 percent increase in electric bikes from 2020. Still, it was a fraction of the 30 million electric bikes the Chinese bought in 2021.

You can get a basic electric bike for less than $1,000 or a midrange one for about $3,000. There are also luxury models, but in any case, charging your electric bike will cost you $50 per year max. The WSJ explains that the technology in the latest electric bikes has improved a lot, and they are now faster and have longer ranges than older models.

If only cities were friendlier to bikes! An in-depth article in Outside magazine analyzes all the reasons to switch your car for a bike and quotes a survey by McKinsey saying that 32 percent of Americans would rather commute by bike than by car. If you decide to ride your bike more often, join the Tour de Terre challenge.

That’s tough

Feb 25, 2020, Santa Clara, CA. ON Semiconductor offices in Silicon Valley

Not so much: at Verb we used our bike instead of the car on a 2-mile commute three times per week in October and we should soon get the first NFT on the Tour the Terre. You know what’s really tough? Silicon carbide, the substrate for circuits which manage a lot of power, like the ones in the inverters and powertrains of electric cars. It takes over three hours to make a six-inch cut in a thin silicon carbide wafer before sending the chip over to print the circuit.

The WSJ reports that Wolfspeed and OnSemi, two companies manufacturing silicon carbide chips, had big jumps in revenue in the September quarter, and outpaced the PHLX Semiconductor Index in that period. As we discussed recently, the chip sector keeps investing despite softening demand as they get ready for a future that will demand lots of innovative technology.