They’re not dead yet!
Faraday Future, the embattled electric car company that could, has a new CEO and fresh promises about when to expect its long anticipated first vehicle, the FF91.
At a media summit held at Faraday Future’s headquarters in Gardena, CA on Thursday, CEO Carsten Breitfeld (who joined the company earlier this month), told reporters that Faraday Future would begin production on the FF91 in September 2020. FF spokesperson John Schilling clarified to Mashable that customers would begin receiving their vehicles “shortly thereafter,” in “fall 2020.”
We’ve heard production and delivery promises before from FF, with a previous deadline of 2018 long come and gone. But Breitfield assured reporters that his track record in “making things happen” (he was previously the man behind BMW’s i8 and at Chinese newcomer EV company Byton with the massive digital dashboard) meant that this time, things would be different.
“The biggest shortcoming right now is the ability to execute,” Breitfield said. “This is where I can bring some experience and knowledge.”
Of course doing so takes infrastructure, relationships with suppliers, and most of all, cash. Faraday Future’s last two years of financial scandal and managerial incompetence have put all of those factors at risk. So Breitfield says the team is going about fixing that. It’s giving suppliers financial assurances in its work, and, with cash reserves running low, searching for new investors to “anchor” the company in the West (it previously heavily relied on Chinese investment). Eventually, Breitfield told Mashable, its Hanford, CA factory should be able to produce 10,000 cars per year.
Meanwhile, designers have spent the last year and a half refining the actual vehicle, and preparing for production. With a $150,000 to $200,000 price point, the company says the FF91 is meant to play in the car class of Bentley and Rolls Royce. It’s made with “premium materials” and features 11 displays comprising 100 inches of screens. A not-so-successful demo of the car aimed to show off its its smartphone-integrated features, which *should* unlock doors, navigate to destinations based on complicated search queries, and create a personalized home theater-like experience for passengers.
The back passenger seats are meant to resemble the first-class cabin of an airplane, and come with a “spa mode” (yep, they’ll give you a massage). For what it’s worth, the seats were comfy.
The company also has another car in the works that it plans to debut at CES 2021: the FF81. That model is meant to compete with the likes of the Tesla Model X, with a totally reasonable starting price around $80,000 for a FF electric SUV. Tesla’s SUV starts at $85,000, for comparison.
Faraday Future executives spent a lot of time waxing about the future and how the company plans to capitalize on “shared mobility” trends and a 5G-connected world. But in terms of producing an actual car? That will all depend on whether Breitfield can, as he said, “execute.”
“I will take personal responsibility to make this happen,” Breitfield said of the production timeline.