Upstarts in the EV race | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 17, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 17, 2020

Upstarts in the EV race

The introduction of electric vehicles has disrupted the automobile industry, perhaps the most traditional and backward-thinking global industry save for the world of energy. Electric motors, being much simpler to engineer and produce, resulted in a large number of EV concepts, originating from makers with no prior experience in the industry. For example, Sony’s introduction of the Vision-S concept at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show has taken many by surprise, as less than a decade ago, no electronic company would consider making a fully functioning car just to sell their products. With this in mind, we take a brief look at the some of the new automotive start-ups, some of which came from the most unexpected of places.

Sony - Vision-S

Ever wanted a mobile living room equipped only with Sony products? Well, they just made one. The Japanese consumer electronics giant recently surprised the world with their Vision-S EV at this year’s CES. The car is less of a production unit and more of a technology demonstrator, with the goal of showcasing all the latest tech and gadgets Sony can offer to the auto industry. Not a bad idea, even though the car’s design of monitoring its occupants for “safety reasons” is a little bit creepy. Will Sony become a full-fledged automotive manufacturer? Perhaps not, but they might become an OEM to the auto industry, much like Nvidia or Google are. For the time being, you can probably expect the Vision-S to arrive to a GranTurismo game on PlayStation.

TOGG - Devrim-2

Turkey’s second attempt at making an indigenous car got off to a much better start then their first, the ill-fated Devrim (revolution) series of prototypes from the early 60’s. By adopting an electric powertrain and outsourcing the vehicle design to Pininfarina, TOGG managed to avoid ending up like their predecessor, whose bespoke cars were poorly planned and impossible to mass produce. The company is setting up to offer two brand new cars to the market—one is a SUV and another a sedan, both of which looks quite good. Hopefully, they will perform better than the behemoths they share their names with.

Qiantu - K50

Ever fancied a Nio EP9 but found its $3.2 million price-tag absurd?  Well Qiantu Motor has an answer for you. Sure, their car’s 0-100 time is a leisurely 4.5 second, can reach only (!) 200 km/h and uses an aluminium frame instead of carbon fibre. But considering 30 of these can be had for the price of a single EP9, is that really an issue? Plus the car comes with a 15.6 inch infotainment screen and a solar roof for the air-conditioning, meaning you can actually daily it without questioning your life decisions.

Lightyear 1

The Netherlands based EV start-up has one goal in mind—build a hyper-efficient luxury sedan that can run mostly using the giant fusion reactor above us, commonly known as the sun. Their first car, a solar panel covered luxury sedan with no rear window, has an alleged range of 800 km, almost three times that of the Tesla Model S. The car is surprisingly good looking with an equally classy interior, which will hopefully be enough to keep the Prius purists away from it.


This California based start-up aims to take on the market segment unintentionally created when the Range Rover was released—the mall crawling urban SUV. The Rivian, despite trying to promote themselves as the hip car for the adventurous youth, is likely to be the next car of choice for the soccer moms, the likes of whom will never take the car off the pavement but wants it anyway because it makes them and their small dogs feel “safe”. That said, the car’s high tech interior, futuristic design, and slight off road capability might just have a winning formula for Rivian.  

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