Faraday Future burst upon the automotive scene in 2014, led by the hyper-energetic Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting. Sort of a cross between Uber’s Travis Kalanick, Nikola Motors CEO Trevor Milton, and PT (“There’s a sucker born every minute”) Barnum, Yueting made grand announcements and bold predictions. He was going to build a fabulous new factory in North Las Vegas, until the governor of Nevada went to China to investigate Yueting’s bona fides. He returned saying all deals were off because Jia had no money.
Faraday Future was the poster child for high-flying startups led by seeming charlatans. The company went dark for a long time before resurfacing this week as a new corporation called Faraday Future Intelligent Electric. Having completed a reverse merger with special acquisition company Property Solutions Acquisition Corp, it is now listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange using the symbol FFIE. Autoblog says, “We’re told that I stands for Intelligent and Internet, E stands for Ecosystem and Electric.” The new company refers to its global partners as the “Futurist Alliance.”
New CEO Carsten Breitfeld told the press this week, “We have been able to convince the capital market that this is a different company now, a company which can deliver a serious business plan. But now we have to deliver, and this is absolutely key.” Gee, do ya think? Breitfeld has a long track record in the automobile business, having spearheaded the development of the BMW i8 and co-founded yet another EV startup called Byton.
Meet The FF 91
With a billion dollars in fresh cash in its coffers, the company says its first model, the FF 91, should be in production within 12 months. No question, the prototype is a looker. Electrive says the first 300 will be part of an exclusive Futurist Alliance Edition which can be reserved for a mere $5,000 deposit. It will come with three motors — 2 in the rear and one in front — with a total of 772 kW (1050 hp) of power and a 0-to-60 mph time of 2.4 seconds. The car will feature a 130 kWh “immersive liquid cooled” battery and is expected to retail for $144,000. It is already sold out.
A more prosaic Futurist Edition with be available with either 2 or 3 motors, an 86.7 kWh or 108.3 kWh battery, and up to 130 kWh of power. It can be reserved for a mere $3000. Both cars promise amazing, never-seen-anything-like-this connectivity and lightning-fast internet connections.
Instead of a space age factory in Nevada, the company will begin producing its cars in a converted Pirelli tire factory in Hanford, California. The plan is to make 2,400 cars in 2022 and build toward 38,600 cars by 2025. In addition to the FF 91, it will introduce two other models — the lower cost FF 81, an electric delivery truck in 2023, and the entry level FF 71 in 2024.
If additional capacity is needed, the company could look to Geely, which is an investor, and other partners in South Korea for additional manufacturing capability. Faraday Future has had more lives than the proverbial cat. Has it finally gotten a handle on what it takes to manufacture compelling electric vehicles? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.