Update: On March 27, Faraday Future announced it has scrapped plans to build a massive electric vehicle factory on Vallejo's Mare Island, which was slated to be the company's second assembly plant. Faraday intended to use the Mare Island factory in two to three years, once the Nevada manufacturing plant reached production capacity, Silicon Valley Business Journal reports.
It's been more than two months since Faraday Future unveiled its first prodution vehicle -- a futuristic-looking, all-electric car with "faster-than-gravity" acceleration and an unknown price tag. The good news is that the Chinese-backed company hasn't gone bankrupt since then. The bad news is that there isn't much else to report.
Industry insiders were predicting Faraday Future's demise shortly after the launch of the FF 91 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. “If they don't find money after CES…they will be out of money by February,” a former executive told The Verge. Faraday Future is facing several lawsuits and is reportedly fraught with financial issues.
After losing a string of high-profile executives, Electrek reported last month that the company has hired Stefan Krause, the former CFO of BMW and Deutsche Bank, to lead Faraday's finance team. But not much else has happened, probably because construction has stalled at the company's $1 billion EV manufacturing plant in Nevada, a facility that's key to Faraday Future's plan to bring the FF 91 to market in 2019.
A recently released report from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) notes that Faraday Future invested $160 million in the factory project through the fourth quarter of 2016. The EV company employed 176 construction workers during Q4 2016, but so far they have done little more than flatten piles of dirt since breaking ground last April.
According to the GOED report, Faraday Future completed the following through Q4 2016:
1. Capital investment of $160,000,000
2. Completed all site demolition work.
3. Graded and moved over 2.5 million cubic yards of earth on site
4. Completed installation of the underground sewer
5. Completed grading (with the exception of the north and south channels not required for this phase)
6. Certified that the pad for the factory building is at grade and ready for the start of foundations
7. Established on-site offices for both Faraday Future employees and the general contractor
8. Leased additional interim office and meeting space in the city of North Las Vegas.
Nick Sampson, FF’s senior vice president and de facto spokesperson, told GTM at CES that ground-up construction would begin early in 2017. A Faraday Future representative said today there are "no official updates at this point," but noted that a new GOED report would be coming out in the next few weeks.
Sampson confirmed in the earlier interview that Faraday Future is currently raising money, which is a process "every company goes through." Faraday's main backer, Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, is reportedly overextended between Faraday Future and his primary company LeEco, which is also developing a new EV. He may also be having trouble getting money into the U.S. due to Chinese government restrictions.
Engadget reports LeEco may be looking to sell its campus in Silicon Valley, which could free up as much as $260 million (USD) to finance Faraday. Sampson said he's confident the company will prevail.
“Despite all of the naysayers and skeptics, we will persist,” he said at a CES press event. “We will carry on to make the impossible possible.”
If Faraday does succeed -- and goes on to challenge Tesla and others as it initially set out to -- that can only be a good thing for the future of EVs.