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Why the cars of the future aren’t coming from the brands you expect

Paul McSweeney 13 September 2019

There was a time when the mere suggestion of starting your own car company would single you out as an amateur in the industry. But that was some 30 years ago. Today, the notion of an automotive “startup” (for lack of a better term) is a widely accepted concept.

Look no further than the world-famous Tesla. It’s the brainchild of Elon Musk, whose prior experience was PayPal and SpaceX. Now they create one of the leading ranges of electric vehicles on the market. But they are far from the only example, with many exciting projects on the horizon.



Rivian’s mantra was to create something that doesn’t exist. Founded in 2009, they now have locations across the US and here in the UK. At the helm is CEO Robert “RJ” Scaringe who created the company after graduating with a PhD from MIT. The two electric vehicles currently on the table – the R1T (a pickup truck) and the R1S (an SUV) – are built for exploring nature, a passion of many of its staff.

In their own words: “It’s a pickup truck that performs like a sports car, does well off-road, and has a range of a gas vehicle.”

They aren’t a small company either. They have over 750 employees, many of whom have come over from the likes of Tesla, Ford, and McLaren. Their Chief Technology Officer is even ex-Apple Mike Bell, who helped bring the iPhone to the masses.



Chinese auto manufacturer NIO has already made an impression on the market. They came roaring onto the scene with electric supercar the EP9 which broke records. Now their consumer electric SUV model, the ES6, is rolling out to early adopters.

Founded in 2014, the company has thrived in a short space of time. They now have over 9,000 employees working across Asia, Europe, and North America. Early signs look good, with the company leading in EV quality amongst its Chinese competitors.



Rimac Automobili – named for its founder Mate Rimac – have set their sights on something more extreme. Their first car, the Concept_One, was built to be the best electric sports car around. Its focus is on sheer power, with a powertrain that can deliver the performance you would expect from a supercar.

Now, with the C_TWO, hypercar is a more accurate term. 0-60 in 1.85 seconds. Top speed of 412km/h. Still electric. Rimac’s technology is mind blowing. The current rumour is that Bugatti is looking to use Rimac tech for its own electric SUV. They deny it, of course, but you know what they say about smoke and fire.



Holding their cards close to their chest, Dyson has at least admitted they are entering the automotive arena. There is no car yet – not to the public’s knowledge at least – as it’s all behind closed doors at their £200m restored hanger in Hullavington.

Recently revealed patents are all we’ve seen of the elusive electric vehicle, with many now speculating it’ll be an SUV. They’ve also been busy bringing veterans of the industry on board. This includes former BMW and Infiniti executive Roland Krueger. The car isn’t expected to launch until 2021 but surely an official reveal can’t be too far away?


The future

This is what makes the auto industry so electric in my opinion. That companies can spring up from almost nowhere and bring world-class concepts to challenge the status quo straight off the bat – exciting for any auto fan. But if these companies want to thrive, they need more than an excellent car and an unwavering passion. They need the marketing chops to break through to the wider market, as Tesla did.

They might not consider their CGI assets, both for internal and external use. Advertising renders for posters. Car configurators for their website. These ideas can be pushed aside in favour of making the launch. But this isn’t an either/or scenario. They can do both.


At REALTIME, we have worked with many well-known automotive brands to deliver startlingly accurate CGI models for a variety of uses and several launches. We are an extension of your company, sharing in your passion. If you would like to discuss a future partnership, contact me on [email protected].