Chinese EV companies: the biggest names you should know

Chinese EV companies: the biggest names you should know

BYD Seal

Whilst the rest of us fight over whether EV infrastructure is strong enough, wonder when such vehicles will be more affordable, and bemoan range anxiety, China has been busy building an EV empire.

What started off as a quiet movement to build on its push for clean energy tech, China is now making big waves across the globe, as it introduces its own brands into territories outside of its domestic market.

As the world’s largest car market, China is already a big voice for well-established brands outside of the country, especially on the luxury side of the auto industry.

And now, a flurry of Chinese EV companies are already starting to duke it out and take on huge names such as Tesla for a slice of the EV pie.

So which Chinese EV cars and brands should you be looking out for in the near future?


BYD Dolphin

Possibly the biggest name right now in Chinese EV companies, BYD – or Build Your Dreams – is backed by serial investor Warren Buffet, and has aspirations to be the world’s top-selling EV manufacturer.

Having now established international bases in Australia, Denmark, Norway, Thailand, and the UK, BYD sold just under one million EVs in 2022.

One of BYD’s reasons for early success can probably be its ability to offer its cars at incredibly competitive prices – for instance, at the 2023 Shanghai auto show, BYD introduced the Seagull, an $11,000 compact hatch that will offer up to 252 miles of range.

Australia, Europe and Southeast Asia seem to be BYD’s territorial targets for now, with the Chinese brand yet to fully enter the US market (only a small commercial arm has been established in the States for now).

Time will tell if BYD looks to lay its aspirations completely on the table and move into the US, but its progress elsewhere cannot be ignored, with plans in place to enter into Japan soon enough as well as.



As another Chinese EV company that makes waves outside of its domestic market, NIO is perhaps an EV brand that looks to the higher end of affordability.

A young company, NIO has only been around since 2014 (versus BYD’s near 30-year existence), but is creating a stance as an aggressive EV start-up.

With no prior history of ICE cars, NIO can establish itself – much like Tesla – as a pure EV brand.

NIO’s cars are already on sale in territories such as Europe, and is looking to establish its own battery-swapping technology in locations such as Germany – such stations allow drivers to swap out a drained battery for a fully-charged unit, removing the need for the vehicle’s owner to wait as the car charges.

NIO certainly has expensive tastes when it comes to its line-up of models, with its range surpassing prices of rivals such as Tesla. However, plans are afoot to introduce multiple ranges of vehicles that dip under both the sub-$30,000 and $20,000 brackets.


Zeekr X

As one of the biggest names in Chinese automotive, Geely is somewhat of a stand-out figure in this company, with the conglomerate owning some of the biggest names in the world market.

Names you will know include Volvo, Polestar, Lotus and Lynk & Co. Meanwhile, Geely also owns half of Smart and Proton, and is the parent company to the firm formerly known as London Taxi.

One name to be aware of in EV circles is Zeekr – it is through this brand that Geely is looking to build upon in the Chinese EV world.

Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture platform has enabled Zeekr to base its models on a very impressive piece of engineering, and is a joint venture with Daimler. The platform is able to consist of varying dimensions to accommodate various model styles, from compact cars to large commercial vehicles.

Special mentions

Taking over 10% of China’s EV market share, SGMW sells some of the cheapest electric vehicles in the country (and also some of the smallest). It’s Wuling Sunshine, for example, comes in at a pretty outrageous $3,700, of which 460,000 tend to be sold annually.

Great Wall Motors – who might be better known for its pick-up lineage – has broken onto the international scene with the brilliantly named Funky Cat, via its Ora sub-brand. The hatchback offers intriguing exterior design, and certainly turns heads.

A big name domestically, Chery is a top-10 EV seller in China, and offers a compact model wonderfully named the QQ Ice Cream, with trim levels labelled Pudding, Cone and Sundae.