In 2010, the future of electric vehicles looked wide open. The terrain was rocky, but fertile; full of opportunity, if you could make it through the technical and consumer crags.
Now, 10 years later, things look different. Established car companies like General Motors and Porsche are elbowing for their share alongside startups like Rivian and Byton. But one company is inarguably both the trailblazer and master of EVs: Elon Musk’s Tesla.
In the first half of the decade, headlines frequently predicted doom for the fledgling company. When any new all-electric vehicle idea came out, critics were quick to anoint it with the label “Tesla killer,” no matter car type, range, or level of luxury. Those labels didn’t stick, however: Tesla is still alive and well. In fact, is “affordable” sedan, the Model 3, made up an eighth of all EV sales worldwide this year. It dominates.
As the decade comes to a close and the EV market is poised to get even more crowded in 2020 and beyond, here’s a look back at “Tesla killers” that never materialized. Better luck next decade.
The ill-fated electric Faraday Future FF91.
Image: FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images
Stalling can happen to electric cars, too.
When Faraday Future unveiled its FF91 at CES in 2017 to much fanfare and fandom, it said its luxury electric vehicle would go into production in 2018. That never happened. Instead, the EV startup burned billions in cash, scrapped plans for production facilities, gone through layoffs, furloughs, re-structuring, and saw its (now former) CEO declare bankruptcy and hide from his Chinese debtors. Oh, and it still has yet to produce a car.
Newly instated CEO Carsten Breitfeld promises that FF91 cars will go into production and hit the road by fall 2020. Faraday Future *could* still pull that off if it’s able to line up new financing. But as a supposed Tesla killer of the 2010s, FF remains a failure.
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