Brands To Look Out For In 2024
Until recently there might not have been much attention to the emerging brands to the UK, especially those from China, until news broke that Chinese car manufacturer BYD now outsells Tesla at electric car production. There are a number of Chinese brands who are looking to not just outsell the famous American car maker but become major players around the world for car production. So which are the car companies that stand the best chance of taking Tesla’s crown as the go-to brand for electric cars? Here is our breakdown of the Top 5 emerging car brands right now:
BYD or ‘Build Your Dreams’ took all the headlines recently for outselling Tesla, but those who read the articles will know they are much more than that. Yes, they outsold Musk’s Tesla at electric car production for the last quarter of 2023, 526k compared to 484k, but they also produced hybrid cars as well. Tesla sold 1.84m electric only cars throughout the whole of 2023, whereas BYD made and sold 1.6m electric only cars and a further 1.4m hybrids. They comfortably outsold the total production of the American car maker for the second consecutive year whilst being a relatively unknown name to the American or European markets.
But BYD have plans to change all that. They already have 5 models on sale in Europe (however just 3 in the UK for now) and have ambitious plans to introduce a further 3 during 2024. They have announced a production facility will be built in Hungary and are aiming at 800,000 car sales in Europe per year by 2030. Not only that, but their mid-sized SUV, the Atto 3, has recently won ‘Electric Car Of The Year’ at the 2023 Motor Awards, whilst they have even made themselves official partners of the upcoming Euro 2024 championships in Germany later this year.
The company, who started with battery development in 1995, have made sure that their battery production can be done completely in house, whereas Tesla rely on a number of external suppliers. As well as this, BYD are placing a big emphasis on their green credentials and have a number of schemes in place, from the push for the electrification of public transport to the reduction in carbon emissions for their car production.
Their current UK offering include the compact hatchback BYD Dolphin, the mid-sized saloon BYD Seal and the mid-size SUV Atto 3. 2024 will see the addition of the Seal U large SUV. Of all their models, the executive saloon Seal, a direct rival to the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6, is the one that will worry their rivals the most. Early drives and reviews have not only shown that the Seal can hold its own against the Tesla, but is also being compared to more established brands such as the BMW i4. Not bad for a brand you might not yet have heard of.
Performance car fans may have come across fellow Chinese manufacturer Nio when they announced their impressive EP9 hypercar. A limited run performance vehicle not for road use, the EP9 showed off their technology and more than impressive acceleration statistics that even made an episode of The Grand Tour and set the autonomous lap record at the Circuit of the Americas.
Now they have shown their ambition in the every day electric car market with a strong line up of offerings with no fewer than 8 models already available on UK shores. From the flagship executive saloon ET9, the Coupe SUV EC6, all-round SUV ES6, the flagship Coupe SUV EC7, flagship SUV ES8, flagship Saloon ET7, mid-large SUV ES7 to the large estate ET5T, there is something for everyone. Not content with that however, arriving this year are the compact SUV EL6 and the premium saloon ET5.
As well as their strong car line up, they are also looking into the ownership experience and how things could be improved for those with a Nio product. The ability to offer a one-stop shop for servicing and maintaining your Nio, to the possibility of a battery change concept allowing installation of a fully charged battery in 3 minutes, the functionality and ideas for the future are impressive. They also offer public spaces to use exclusively for Nio customers with a number of possibilities, and already collaborate with some of the world’s leading designers in both fashion and product design in order to expand the Nio brand as much as possible.
The ambitions and plans as a forward-thinking brand that offer the very latest technology, a clear ethos of cutting-edge design and a premium service for their products gives Nio a great chance to upset the current established manufacturers. The strength of their already impressive line up means that they already have a model that fits your requirements, not bad for a brand that was only founded in 2014.
One of the threats to Tesla’s crown comes from a brand that may already be familiar to some people, Fisker. Founded in 2016 by former Aston Martin designer, Henrik Fisker, their first model, the mid-sized SUV Fisker Ocean, received over 60,000 pre-orders when it was announced in 2022 and has started to be seen on the public roads more and more. In fact, we were one of the first to fund the new Fisker Ocean towards the end of 2023 and since then it has become one of the quickest rising brands for enquiries in the Oracle Finance offices.
Whilst it may be their only model currently on sale in the UK, the Ocean offers more than enough to tempt you away from your Tesla with a blend of stylish design, impressive performance figures as well as capable battery range. Their top of the range dual-motor model offers up to 440 miles of range whilst the 560bhp on offer means you can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.7 seconds.
It is the ingenuity of some of the features that make the Fisker stand out amongst its rivals however. Options such as the ‘SolarSky’ photovoltaic roof offering a boost to charging from free sunlight, the ability to share charge with another Fisker or even to power your home, and the clever packaging and practical features to the interior set the Ocean apart from other vehicles.
The Fisker range may only comprise of a single model for now, however there are the imminent arrivals of a further three cars to the line up including the ‘urban lifestyle vehicle’ Pear, the innovative pickup truck, the Kayak, and the four-door convertible GT sports car, the Ronin. With all three upcoming models offering the same ingenuity and different way of thinking as the Ocean, Fisker is a brand with more than enough potential to make waves in the current all-electric market.
If Tesla’s relatively short lifespan from company founding to being the market leader for electric cars was impressive, then Chinese manufacturer Aiways may be even more so. Founded as a start up in 2017, Aiways in just 6 years has gone from starting the company to building a plant capable of producing 300k vehicles annually, a full research and development department and their own battery production facility.
They may be targeting their products at the lower end price point of the EV market but there is nothing cost saving about the technology in their vehicles. European customers of Aiways products get a 5-year or 150,000km warranty to guarantee the quality of their mechanicals, but perhaps more impressively and reassuringly the company offers an 8-year or 150,000km warranty on their batteries to guarantee 75% capacity after this time. A bit of an elephant in the room with any electric car over a few years old and something that should put your mind at ease over keeping your EV for longer periods of time or when looking at a pre-owned model later down the line.
The current Aiways offering is the U5 family SUV and the U6 compact SUV offering technology and driving assistance systems to rival some of the most expensive of electric cars, yet for those with a more sensible budget. Aiming directly at Chinese owned rivals MG and looking to take a share of their impressive sales figures, the Aiways models are a genuine alternative to a brand that has done remarkably well in the UK so far.
Xpeng may not a familiar name to the UK car industry but the Chinese manufacturer does not do things by halves. Despite being founded just under 10 years ago, it has already received investment by renowned tech companies such as Xiaomi and Alibaba, and Volkswagen purchased 5% of the company just last year. Its IPO on the New York stock exchange saw shares rise 40% on just the first day of trading, with revenue rising exponentially year on year.
Its products have introduced features such as the ability to read traffic lights and were the first production cars to be equipped with Lidar sensors for its advanced driver assistance systems. This combined with their autonomous driving technology development ensures their cars are set to offer features and safety systems that Tesla could only dream of. By focusing heavily on the software and intelligent features they feel a car should offer, Xpeng are pushing the boundaries of what cars of the not-too-distant future will be capable of.
Their current line up features the executive saloon P7, the compact saloon P5, the compact SUV G3i and the family SUV G9 and all have been crammed with features and the very latest technology that are sure to impress even the most sceptical and brand loyal electric car buyer. From the x-wing doors and the Brembo braking system of the performance minded P7, to the Dolby Atmos spatial audio and ‘immersive 5D experience’ capability of the entertainment system in the G9, the facts and figures are very impressive.
Xpeng may not be a force to be reckoned with in the European market just yet, but the capability of their models and the state-of-the-art technology and features that their products offer are sure to create a stir. Just as Tesla pioneered the functionality and the capability of their cars when they came to market, Xpeng look to take their models to the next level and show levels of safety and autonomy that have yet to be demonstrated on production cars. If there was ever a time to demonstrate new thinking in the automotive market, now is definitely it.
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