Electric vehicles (EVs) are redefining the automotive industry. Many established companies, such as Toyota, Ford, and Hyundai, have begun shifting production to electric and hybrid vehicles. These changes come amidst a shift in consumer preferences toward greener transportation methods and an influx of stricter government regulations against the sale of gas-powered cars.
In addition to well-known auto manufacturers, many new companies are looking to stake their claim in the growing EV sector. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 EV startups and introduce our picks for the best companies to watch this year.
For more top company lists, check out our other AITJ articles: Top Autonomous Vehicles Companies to Watch in 2022 and Top Renewable Energy Companies to Watch in 2022.
Arrival is a British EV manufacturer specializing in lightweight commercial vehicles. The company expects to revolutionize the EV market with its three products: the Arrival Bus, Arrival Car, and Arrival Van.
The company is in an exciting stage. It recently received EU Certification and European Whole Vehicle Type Approval on the Arrival Bus model and produced the first Arrival, Van, in late September 2022. The Arrival Van is a battery-electric urban utility vehicle with a range of 100 to 200 miles per charge. It is already generating interest from major companies. In 2020, UPS placed an order for roughly 10,000 electric delivery vehicles to be delivered between 2020 and 2024.
The company has also partnered with Uber to develop an electric cab specifically for the company. Arrival’s future is bright as the company continues to take steps to scale production on its electric vehicle fleets.
Unlike most companies on this list, Aptera’s primary focus is creating the world’s first commercially available solar-powered electric vehicle. The car is expected to need no charging for most daily uses and will have a battery capacity of up to 1,000 miles per charge. Aptera claims that the car is 30% more efficient than other electric vehicles and can help owners reduce their carbon footprint by 14,000 pounds of CO2 annually.
Many experts believe that Aptera is making promises that are unlikely to hold for the delivered model. However, many are still intrigued by the concept of Aptera’s product and believe that the car could create a new market within the EV sector. The company is currently working on proving its technology and developing a working prototype of the vehicle.
Bollinger Motors is a startup designing and manufacturing electric non-commercial and commercial trucks. It has two working non-commercial models, the B1, and B2, which are expected to hit production this year. These two models have a starting price of $125,000, which has many questioning the demand for Bollinger’s products. It appears that Bollinger may be adopting Tesla’s strategy of luxury pricing its first vehicles to produce more affordable versions in the future.
However, Bollinger Motors’ main attraction is the development of the Bollinger B4, an electric commercial truck. Bollinger claims to be the only company offering electric chassis cabs and platforms for vehicles in classes 4-6. Should the B4’s development continue progressing, this vehicle will inevitably be desirable in the trucking industry and create a niche market for Bollinger to serve.
Canoo is another unique startup developing electric lifestyle vehicles. Inspired by the idea of using an electric skateboard chassis as the base of many different vehicles, Canoo has built minivan and truck models on their one-of-a-kind platforms, the former of which is expected to be released later this year.
What makes Canoo’s steer-by-wire platform different is its capability to be driven independently. This means that the base is can be driven without vehicle-specific parts typically needed to get the car or truck moving. This feature allows the company to produce custom low-volume specialized vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks on the base as it does not have to be customized for each type of vehicle. However, as of now, the company appears to be focusing its efforts on its lifestyle vehicles.
Canoo is an intriguing company to watch. Its product offerings, specifically its electric skateboard platform, have the potential to revolutionize the EV market.
Faraday Future is a startup creating everyday electric vehicles. The FF 91, the company’s flagship model, is currently in the works and is expected to hit production soon. The FF 91 has three electric motors and a 381-mile-per-charge range. The car looks to rival Tesla’s Model X and has an incredible price tag of nearly $200,000 for the most high-end model.
Since announcing the FF 91 in 2017, Faraday Future has had numerous production delays. However, 2023 looks promising for the company as it released the first “production intent” model earlier in the last year and officially received an EPA range rating of 381 miles per charge. This rating is a positive sign of the vehicle’s development and could be the factor that secures the capital needed to begin scale production.
Lucid Motors is an automotive manufacturer specializing in the development and production of luxury electric cars. The company’s first model, the Lucid Air Dream Edition, is the longest-lasting electric car with an unrivaled range of 52 miles per charge. It goes from 0 to 60 in under two seconds and has over 1200 horsepower. The Lucid Air’s custom lithium-ion battery cells and incomparable engine efficacy also enable it to be one of the fastest-charging electric vehicles developed thus far.
However, with a sale price of $170,000, the Lucid Air Dream Edition is a fantasy vehicle for many everyday drivers. Luckily for those that cannot afford the Dream Edition, Lucid Motors is working on the base-level Air model. Although it still has a hefty price of an estimated $77,000, it is notably less than its Dream Edition counterpart. Many view the Air’s base model as the real test of the demand for Lucid Motors’ products.
This company is surely one to keep an eye on, especially as pre-orders for the base model open up to the public in the coming year.
NIO is one of the more developed startup companies on this list. It has six models on sale in the company’s home country, China, and has sold over 230,000 vehicles over the company’s lifespan. NIO offers sedan and SUV models at a competitive price compared to the other electric vehicles typically seen in the western market.
Along with vehicle production, NIO also stands out as a Battery as a Service (BaaS) provider. The company has created vehicles capable of swapping out the battery, similar to how old Samsung phones worked. The ability to swap batteries solves the concerns about the longevity of electric vehicles such as battery degradation and resale value.
The Chinese manufacturer is looking to expand into western markets and has started plans to sell its ET7 model in more countries across Europe. The company is also looking to break into the U.S. market soon, which has many investors and consumers excited for the company’s future.
Proterra is an EV and electric battery provider specializing in large heavy-duty commercial vehicles. The company primarily produces fleets of electric buses and provides the necessary supporting infrastructure for an effortless transition from a gas-powered fleet.
Proterra is the leading electric bus producer in the United States and has claimed over 50% market share between 2012 and 2019. Its vehicles have traveled over 20 million miles. The company continues to grow its presence in more public transit infrastructures.
Proterra has also entered the heavy-duty vehicle sector and provides battery technology and systems to other electric vehicle manufacturers. Their battery systems have broad applications and are currently being used in city buses, airport transportation, and even freight delivery vehicles.
Proterra is revolutionizing the public transit sector and plays a major role in helping cities to reduce their carbon footprint.
Similar to Nio, Rivian is another everyday electric vehicle manufacturer. In 2022, the company finally began production and delivery of the R1T, one of the first non-commercial electric trucks on the market. Overall, the general response to the vehicle has been positive. However, the company has been forced to recall its products due to faulty features such as the promised automatic truck bed cover.
Despite minor problems with the car, which many believe is to be expected from a new car manufacturer, many consumers have been happy with their purchases. Currently, investors and electric vehicle enthusiasts are watching to see if Rivian will rival Tesla in the electric vehicle market.
XPENG is another established Chinese electric vehicle startup with products selling in the Chinese market. XPENG has four models available for consumers, the P7, P5, G3i, and G9. As of now, the company has sold over 240,000 sedans and SUVs over the company’s lifetime.
The company has seen a long period of uninterrupted growth in sales. This may be due to its comparatively lower price range. The starting price of the P5, XPENG’s electric sedan, is 160,000 yuan, or $24,700. One of the company’s more expensive models is the G9, which starts at around $44,000.
In February 2022, XPENG announced plans to expand into the Netherlands and Sweden. This is in addition to Norway, where the country has been doing business since 2020. Not much has been released about further expansion plans. However, XPENG is certainly looking to compete not only with NIO in the Chinese market but with other players in the global EV space as well.