At Faraday Future’s facility in Southern California, the press walked around while a designer scraped a physical clay car model and workers tinkered on the manufacturing floor.It was a show for the media by remaining employees after one of the auto industry’s most spectacular failures.Were they helping build something special or putting in work for a future that may never come?
“It’s probably a little late,” said Rohan Williamson, professor of finance at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, about FF’s prospects. “The vehicle is nice. They have a unique approach. But I’m not sure if enough investors can get enough capital to get it done to go to the mass production model, which is at least three or four years down the road.”
Faraday Future’s plan for success involves producing its flagship, ultra high-end, $150k-$200k model, the FF91, by fall 2020. Then, it plans to release a mid-luxury model (FF81), and eventually, something along the lines of the more affordable Tesla Model 3. Getting the FF91 out by next fall is critically important in an industry that experts say is about to be flooded with luxury EVs in the next year.
“Time isn’t on their side,” Karl Brauer, the executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book, told Mashable. “It’s not just that they need to get the money. They need to get a product they can mass produce on the road immediately.”
CEO Carsten Breitfeld rallies the FF troops at its ‘Futurist Testing Lab.’Image: Faraday FutureThe FF team hasn’t thrown in the towel. Instead, they say they have been refining their product.
“Since the Evergrande stuff, this is what we’ve been doing,” Ron Polonski, FF’s head of design, said while showing off an interior model of a new car concept, the FF81. “We haven’t been sitting idle.”
The “Evergrande stuff” refers to Faraday Future’s co-founder Jia Yueting (also known as YT) leading the company as it burned through $800 million of a $2 billion investment from Evergrande, FF’s Chinese investor. That led to international court cases, layoffs and furloughs, production delays, debt and sold-off factory land; a bitter reality for a company that was once trumpeted as a serious Tesla competitor.
The heads of the “Futurist Testing Lab” are itching to move their work to the production floor.Image: rachel kraus / mashableTo turn things around, YT stepped down as CEO (marooned in a California mansion to avoid his Chinese debtors), though he is still involved with the company. FF replaced him with an earnest and sharp-dressed EV industry veteran, Carsten Breitfeld, who started in early September.
“If you look back, you will see only bad news,” Breitfeld told reporters at an event last week. “I would like to change your perspective on this c
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