When Faraday Future first burst on the scene, it was big on promises and ambition, laying the groundwork for a billion-dollar factory in Nevada and promising game-changing electric car technology.
Then came one of the biggest disappointments in modern car history with the reveal of the FFZERO1 concept, a low-slung piece of vaporware that is never, ever going to see the road. Even so, Farady kept up with bold promises of autonomous driving, smartphone capability, and long-range, zero-emissions driving even as reports of unpaid contractors and fleeing executives continue to pile up.
With CES 2017 just around the corner, Faraday is no doubt looking to regain some of its lost hype. But a new report from Jalopnik citing inside sources paints an ugly picture of a cash-starved company with no clear path forward. Amongst the most damning issues highlighted by Jalopnik:
- Unpaid contractors halting work on Farady’s $1 billion Nevada factory
- A lawsuit involving $10 million in unpaid bills relating FF’s car design (that lawsuit has since been dropped without reasoning)
- Money from principal investor Jia Yueting has reportedly ceased coming
- FF was added as a loan guarantor on Jia’s other EV project, LeEco
- Six high-ranking executives left the company in the fall, including the Head of Product Strategy, Head of PR, and the Finance Director
- And the real kicker: FF may have debt as much as $200 million, rather than having $100 million of cash on hand as it thought
Any one of these issues on their own would be cause for concern for any fans or potential investors. Put all together, however, Faraday Future is looking more and more like an inevitable failure waiting to happen. The would-be electric automaker had ambitions to begin production on its still-unrevealed crossover as soon as 2018, but it will be hard to build a car without a factory or parts suppliers or top executives.
Everybody wants to be the next Tesla Motors right now, but companies like Faraday Future and Lucid Motors are trying to skip the hard stuff where Tesla struggled to be taken seriously, and get right into the high-end luxury EV market that the Model S has cornered for itself.
But there’s a lack of organic growth that let Musk and co. work through the unique growing pains that come with designing and selling electric vehicles. It can be easy to forget that Tesla came close to being sold off to Google, or the teething issues that the first Model S sedans went through, or how Top Gear put Tesla on blast in front of gearheads worldwide.
All these setbacks have helped forge a better, tougher Tesla Motors, and you can’t just throw a billion dollars at the problem and expect to beat the one guy who has started a successful automaker in the last century.
Faraday Future is not long for this world unless it delivers the most compelling vehicle of the year at CES. And even that might not be enough for a company that has shown no production concept some 18 months after first announcing that it was “not fucking around.”