Chinese automotive giant BYD (BYDDY 1.80%) doesn't get as much publicity as rivals like NIO (NIO) and XPeng (XPEV 2.19%). But sales from the Warren Buffett-backed electric vehicle (EV) maker continue to outpace those of its Chinese peers. Updated sales reports show that BYD still sold more than twice as many battery electric vehicles (BEVs) alone in March than fast-growing NIO. 

BYD reported 16,301 BEV sales last month, while NIO said it delivered a record 7,257 of its fully electric models, CNBC reports. Warren Buffett saw much potential in BYD, starting a position for Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 0.19%) (BRK.B 0.15%) in 2008. As of Dec. 31, 2020, Berkshire had an 8.2% ownership stake in BYD.

red BYD Han EV on green grass in front of building

BYD Han EV. Image source: BYD.

BYD also sold more than 7,000 plug-in hybrid EVs during the month. Including its fossil-fuel-powered offerings, the company exceeded 40,000 total vehicle sales in March. While that represented 33% growth year over year, battery-electric and plug-in hybrids led the way with increases of 56% and 433% growth, respectively. 

For the first quarter, sales of BYD new-energy vehicles exceeded the company's fossil-fuel vehicle sales. In a sign of how EV sales are accelerating in China, year-to-date growth of new-energy vehicles, including commercial vehicles like buses, rose almost 150% versus the prior-year period, while sales of internal-combustion models only grew 26%. 

The company is also leveraging its battery technology. As the largest global rechargeable battery maker, its products are used in consumer electronics, EVs, and energy storage.