Our latest industry survey of more than 800 Whatcar.com users reveals that while 28% of buyers are currently in the market for an electric car, 32% would be more willing to buy one from a traditional vehicle manufacturer than they would from a new electric car brand.

This is the latest report in a series of weekly updates for industry colleagues from Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car? and Haymarket Automotive. Quoted poll data is from more than 800 whatcar.com users.

Electric vehicle sales are the only segment currently growing, but our latest research shows that the UK’s in-market car buyers are relatively unaware of the number of new electric vehicle manufacturers entering the market in the coming years.

Our weekly research of 821 in-market buyers found the majority are unaware of new electric vehicle manufacturers, such as Faraday Future or Nio. The research revealed that 56% had not heard of any of the following brands before: Faraday Future, Fisker, Lucid, Lynk & Co, Nio, Polestar, Rivian, or Chinese brand WM.

Polestar was the best-known brand, with 41% of respondents knowing of it, followed by Rivian at 10%, Fisker at 9%, Nio at 8%, and Lucid at 7%, while 3% of buyers had heard of Faraday Future and Lynk & Co before. Just 1% had heard of WM.

While, of these brands, only Polestar currently sells vehicles in the UK, others such as Lynk & Co and Fisker have confirmed plans to enter the UK in the coming years. Meanwhile the likes of Nio have previously suggested offering their vehicles in the UK. Rivian on the other hand, has been in talks with the UK Government about a potential vehicle factory in the country.

The survey also found that 63% of buyers would be as interested in buying an electric vehicle from a traditional brand, such as Ford, as they would from a new brand like Nio, while 32% said they would prefer to buy an electric car from a traditional OEM over one from a less established manufacturer.

Of the 821 in-market buyers surveyed, 28% were in the market for an electric car, with 22% of electric buyers set to buy in the next 4 weeks. A further 22% were looking to buy in the next 1-3 months, and 29% in the next 3-6 months. Just over a quarter (27%) were looking to buy an electric vehicle in more than six months time.

The influx of new electric vehicle brands is positive for the industry, because giving buyers a wider choice of models and challenging existing manufacturers should increase the rate of technological development. Gaining brand awareness will, however, be a key challenge for many.