BYD is now shipping its own EVs as first cargo ship heads to Europe


After overtaking Tesla in global EV sales in the last three months of 2023, BYD looks to continue its expansion. BYD’s first cargo ship has been delivered. The BYD Explorer No. 1 is the first Chinese-made ship designed to carry domestic EVs overseas. And it’s headed for Europe.

First BYD ship sets sights on Europe to deliver EVs

Marking a “new era” for Chinese vehicles, BYD’s first ship designed to carry EVs arrived at Yantai Port on January 9.

The next stop will be Shenzhen, where it will load vehicles before setting sail to Europe. BYD’s ship, the Explorer No. 1, is 653 feet (199 meters) long and can carry 7,000 vehicles.

China International Marine Containers Group (CIMC), which built the vessel, announced the news on WeChat Wednesday.

The ship is owned by Zodiac Maritime, with BYD leasing it as the first addition to its “sea-going fleet.”

BYD’s Explorer No. 1 is the first vessel built by a Chinese shipyard designed for exporting domestic vehicles. The company said it will “ensure BYD’s rapid delivery and expansion of overseas markets.”

As far as propulsion, the ship uses two sets of LNG storage tanks. By using green and clean liquified natural gas as the main fuel, CIMC says it can “significantly reduce emissions.”

The BYD Explorer No. 1 (Source: CIMC)

Expanding around the globe with new models

The EV leader is rapidly expanding into new markets. BYD is already a leader in key auto markets like Thailand, Brazil, and Columbia. It’s also growing in Mexico, Australia, India, and several others.

BYD, which started as a battery maker, is producing and delivering EVs at a record pace. The company recently revealed several new models to join its growing EV lineup.

BYD Yangwang U7 (Source: Yangwang)

The automaker revealed the Yangwang U7 this week, a luxury electric sedan with over 1,000 hp poised to rival the Tesla Model S Plaid.

Meanwhile, BYD is aiming for Tesla’s sweet spot with several mid-size electric SUVs to compete with Tesla’s Model Y. BYD launched the sleek Song L less than a month ago. The electric SUV starts at $27,000 (189,800 yuan) with up to 411 mi (662 km) CLTC range.

BYD Song L (Source: BYD)

The Song L earned over 8,000 orders in its first three days on the market, according to Chinese research firm CarFans.

BYD revealed the Sea Lion 07, another mid-size electric SUV, a month before that. The Sea Lion 07 is designed by former Audi and Lamborghini designer Wolfgang Egger.

Electrek’s Take

BYD receiving its first ship is a major milestone as the Chinese automaker continues expanding into new global markets. China looks like it overtook Japan as the largest auto export nation in 2023 as demand for EVs continues climbing.

After selling nearly 1.6 million all-electric vehicles last year (3 million including PHEVs), BYD looks to expand the brand in 2024.

BYD, which started as a battery maker, continues growing with EVs in key segments. The automaker is best known for its affordable EVs like the Dolphin electric hatch (~$17,000) and Yuan Plus (~$19,000). However, the company is expanding into new segments like luxury.

BYD launched its high-end Yangwang brand last year. Its first vehicle, the U8 off-road SUV, was launched in September. With four electric motors, the SUV cranks out over 1,200 horsepower. But it will cost you over $150,000 (1,098,000 RMB). The new U7 is expected to start at around $140,000 (1 million RMB).

It will be another exciting year as EV leaders like Tesla and BYD continue gaining market share in the largest global auto markets.

Source: Bloomberg, CIMC

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