One of China’s largest automotive brands, BYD, has discontinued manufacturing vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE). The last petrol and diesel-powered motor vehicles had rolled off factory assembly lines in March, announced a recent statement released by the Shenzhen-based firm.
Instead, BYD is directing most of its research and development towards greener power units like battery-electric and plug-in hybrids.
Analysts have speculated that the Warren Buffet-backed firm would abandon ICE vehicles for some time. BYD’s petrol and diesel-powered offerings have become less diverse in the last several years as showroom floors have begun to fill with electric alternatives.
Early 2022 sales figures released by the company seem to support its decision. According to figures released by the digital publication, Inside EVs, BYD’s ICE vehicle sales between February 2021 and 2022 dropped to between two to three percentage points.
Non-rechargeable cars represented a small share of the firm’s annual sales, at 2 795 units. Conversely, plug-in hybrids and battery electric sales for the manufacturer experienced prodigious growth in the same period.
Battery-electric sales shot up by 451% for an estimated 43 137 units, while plug-in hybrid models similarly skyrocketed, growing by 1 836%, accounting for around 44 300 units.
Although the company has effectively ceased production of all ICE cars, the brand would continue to manufacture and distribute parts for the vehicles to provide after-sales services to existing customers, said BYD officials. It’s also worth noting that BYD will still produce ICE components because plug-in hybrids still use ICE features.
BYD’s bus, forklift, truck and other heavy machinery fleet has forgone ICE platforms too. The Chinese megafirm has quietly established itself as a global superpower in the e-bus market.
The company has delivered more than 70 000 buses internationally and enjoys a presence in many major cities globally. In Europe in particular it is estimated BYD e-buses have driven a collective 140 million kilometres, equating to a reduction of 150 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
BYD was the first major automotive player to ditch ICE platforms altogether, as per the company’s official Twitter account. While this may be true, other manufacturers have already announced intentions to follow suit.
Audi, Mercedes and Volvo have outlined 2030 as their all-electric deadlines, while other brands have been more aggressive with their targets. For example, Geely-owned Lotus will switch to EVs only after this year’s launch of the Lotus Emira. Jaguar and Land Rover said 2025 would be the year it went all-electric.
Others have been less ambitious with their targets. Porsche said it would produce EV Cayman and Boxster models by 2024, but the iconic 911 models would remain internally combusted.