Retail investor interest in electric vehicle start-ups doesn't align with realistic expectations

Key Points
  • CNBC surveyed more than 130 people to determine what EV start-ups they have the most interest in investing in now or in the future.
  • The companies included in the survey were Fisker, Lordstown Motors, Lucid, Nikola and Rivian,
  • We then took the results and asked Wall Street and automotive analysts what companies they believed were most likely to succeed. 
Carolyn Hebbard | Moment | Getty Images

The rise of Tesla to become the world's most valued automaker and the fear of missing out on the next auto industry disruptor have investors flocking to electric vehicle start-ups — even though many of the companies never have produced revenue or vehicles.

Many aspiring automakers are attempting to become the "next Tesla" but not all are expected to make it to market. They face vast capital expenditures, manufacturing hurdles (if they even have a factory or plan to assemble vehicles themselves) and an increasingly competitive market for all-electric vehicles. Plus this segment remains less than 2% of new U.S. vehicle sales, even as it is expected to grow in coming years.

CNBC surveyed more than 130 people online who identified themselves as current or potential future investors in the automotive industry to determine what EV start-ups they have the most interest in investing in now or in the future. We then took those results and asked Wall Street analysts and automotive industry experts what companies they feel are most likely to make it to market and create a sustainable business.