If you’re thinking of snapping up a cheap new Chinese electric car there is something you should know…

If you’re thinking of buying an electric car in the near future, you may well be tempted away from the Fords, Vauxhalls and VWs of this world by a cheaper, unknown brand from one of hundreds of electric vehicle start-ups coming out of China. Perhaps a neat little Hedgehog E400, a Zotye i-across or even an Ora Funky Cat will be a good buy.

Chinese electric cars are coming, and coming in force. The likes of Zeekr, SAIC, Geely, Great Wall, Fengon, Foton have been in China for years, and will soon become familiar sights on our roads.

It’s not the first time competition in the car market has come from east Asia. In the 1960s, at a time when cars had all-British names like Triumph Herald and Hillman Avenger, imports started coming in from Japan, also with names that seemed odd to us. First came Daihatsu, then Datsun, Mazda, Honda and the one that sounded the funniest of all, Toyota.

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