New EV startups entering auto industry with splashy new models as they compete to be 'next Tesla'

Dave Kunz Image
Thursday, December 7, 2023
These EV startups are trying to be the 'next Tesla'
A number of new EV brands want to be the "next Tesla," but they're competing with established car makers. Is the field already overcrowded?

By now, everyone's heard of Tesla. In a relatively short time, it's gone from a scrappy startup to a significant player in the global auto industry.

Some may have heard of Polestar, a more recent startup as an electric vehicle brand. The company has one model on the road now but it has several more in the pipeline.

But what about Lucid? Or VinFast? Or Fisker? Or Faraday Future? Other emerging EV brands are eyeing the success of Tesla. But it's not an easy industry to jump into.

"For every vehicle manufacturer that currently exists that's a pure EV maker, and has been developed in the last five years, there's probably four or five I can think of in the past 10 years that have come and gone," said industry watcher Karl Brauer, executive analyst at

U.S.-based Lucid made a big splash at the recent L.A. Auto Show by unveiling their second model, the Gravity. This one's an SUV, to go alongside the high-end Air sedan that Lucid launched a couple of years ago.

"Today marks a true landmark for Lucid. And it's the start of a bold new chapter in the history of the SUV," remarked Peter Rawlinson, CEO of Lucid Motors, during the company's press conference.

Like the Air sedan, the Gravity is considered a luxury vehicle, with a starting price of somewhere around $80,000 when it goes on sale in late 2024. That prices a lot of EV shoppers out of the market, no matter how appealing the new Lucid is.

"It's still an expensive car, and the main barrier for people buying electric vehicles is their price. They cost substantially more than the equivalent gasoline car," noted Brauer.

Polestar is an interesting case, because it's the all-electric offshoot, in a way, of Volvo. And Volvo has announced that they will be going all-electric by the end of the decade. So you have a relative of Volvo building all electric cars, and then you'll have traditional Volvo building all electric cars. Essentially competing with each other.

That's among the issues the startup electric brands face: competition in the market. Auto makers who've been in the game for decades or even more than a century are hopping on the EV bandwagon in a big way. From Hyundai to Mercedes-Benz, new battery cars are hitting the market all the time.

Brauer makes this observation about electric cars from legacy auto companies: "They're from brands everyone knows, and easy to go get service by. And, more importantly in my opinion, those are having trouble selling, too."

As it's always been, going back to the beginnings of the automobile when new companies came along like crazy, the competition is tough out there.

MORE: Hybrid and plug-in hybrid SUV models becoming more popular

As gas prices hover around the $5 mark, some drivers are looking at ways to cut down on gasoline reliance without completely going electric.