We asked participants in our global mobility & transportation survey about their awareness of brands that offer electric cars. Unsurprisingly, Tesla is the brand with the most recognition: 29% of all survey respondents indicated they are confident that Tesla sells electric cars. Toyota came in second place at 22% awareness, and BMW is third place at 20%.

While Tesla is the most popular brand on a global scale, it also has extremely high brand recognition in Scandinavian countries like Norway (70%) and Denmark (62%). While Tesla is the only brand among those listed that doesn’t spend any money on advertising, it’s reliance on hype, passionate fans and Elon Musk’s cult of personality, has yielded the highest brand awareness of all the companies in our study. Though all of the brands listed offer electric cars, most respondents were only aware of the top 3; Tesla, Toyota and BMW. So why is recognition so low among the remainder of these brands?

A recent American study conducted by the Sierra Club suggests that automakers spend next to nothing on advertisements for their electric models, instead prioritizing funding for gasoline-powered vehicles (and hybrid vehicles to a lesser extent). For automakers who can’t pull off Tesla’s unconventional advertising methods, increasing budget allocation to EVs could be a way to boost awareness.

But on the other hand, awareness is not always directly correlated to revenue and sales. For example, Mitsubishi is one of the higher selling EV brands in the industry, yet has a fairly low comparative awareness of just 7%.

To explore more transportation facts and figures, visit the interactive dashboard How the World Moves. For more about the electric car market, check out our in-depth report.


image credit John Voo