A relative newcomer to the automotive industry, Faraday Future has taken a steady path towards smart and clean mobility since its inception in 2015.
From investing $US1 billion in an EV production facility in late 2015, to launching their first concept car the FFZERO1 at the Asian Auto Show in the following April, they then went on to successfully gain approval to test autonomous cars in California in November of 2016.
Two car making facilities were also opened by the company within 9 months of each other, one in Las Vegas and the other in California.
Not just baby steps – more a considered, calculated totter.
Notwithstanding the awkward stumbling moment in November last year when the company dismissed CFO Stefan Krause, whom they then went on to file a lawsuit against, citing theft of not only company secrets but also staff, the company has so far gone from a tentative toddle to a surefooted stride.
While Krause maintains that Faraday Future’s claims were ‘recklessly inaccurate’, and that in fact he was brought in to keep the company’s finances aloft, Faraday have continued to forge ahead preparing for the production of their FF91 – despite keeping quiet since its unveiling at CES2017 where it unfortunately at first failed to perform a self-parking demonstration.
In fact, around the same time they were casting off Krause, they also accepted an agreement for funding from Hong Kong’s Season Smart Limited.
That funding – a total of $US2 billion – has now been approved by the US government, while Season Smart Limited has been taken over by Evergrande Health Industry Group, a subsidiary of Chinese property developer Evergrande Group.
Leaps forward but what does it add up to? For a start, the money won’t all come at once, with $US800 million kicking off the investment.
This will be followed by another $US600 million at the end of 2019 and a remaining $US600 million at the end of 2020.
With three years under their belt already, it is perhaps more a long distance trek than a sprint.
It will also mean that Evergrande now have a 45% stake in Smart King Limited, a joint venture between Season Smart Limited and Faraday Future, and Faraday’s future is looking not just towards the US market but also the China.
Faraday says that it will use the funds “to accomplish our top priority – finalizing the development and delivering the first production vehicle, FF91 to both US and China markets.”
They also state that they have stepped up production and brought on board over 300 employees in a bid to get the FF91 to market by the end of this year.
With the Hanford factory preparing for #FF91 production, 300+ new team members, and a 2 billion USD investment, we are a step closer to achieving our commitment. Subscribe at https://t.co/7jDElmEBUm for updates. #Electriccar #FaradayFuture #Startup pic.twitter.com/WlFXTOsee9
— Faraday Future (@FaradayFuture) June 29, 2018
When that happens though, the rumours are that the ‘Tesla killer’ will be available in China at a hefty price of RMB2 million (over $AU400,000) – a damn sight more than even your highest end Teslas.
That aside, with the company named among the 10 best tech startups by The Tech Tribune, and new VP of Finance Michael Agosta of Ford Motors appointed a little more than a month ago, it will be interesting to see if the Evergrande funding will see that Faraday Future keeps its stride to take Tesla for a spin.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.