Faraday Future's Ghost CEO Abandons Company Days Before Key Unveiling

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
faraday futures ghost ceo abandons company days before key unveiling

Faraday Future continues to dispense epoch-making levels of hype as the company seemingly implodes. Last week, Faraday’s chief brand and commercial officer and its vice president for product marketing both abandoned the company. This week, they were followed by elusive Chinese overseer and “unofficial” CEO, Ding Lei. Of course, Faraday Future has already spent the last two years without a CEO — much in the same way it has functioned without sufficient capital, a clear business plan, or a tangible product.

Meanwhile, the company’s Twitter feed is excitedly counting down the days until it unveils something at the Consumer Electronics Show — making use of slogans such as, “When electricity could travel further, so could ideas.” At this point, I’m wagering ideas are just about all Faraday has left to offer.

The Verge says Ding, a top executive and co-founder of Chinese tech giant LeEco — the company that’s semi-secretly backing Faraday Future — recently stepped down from his supervisory role as FF’s “acting global CEO.” According to inside sources, the title was bestowed upon Ding by LeEco’s founder and chairman Jia Yueting until a suitable replacement could be found.

Despite leaving Faraday, a LeEco spokesperson says Ding remains with the company and presently holds the title of co-founder and global vice chairman at SEE Plan. However, there are rumors circulating that he’s about to leave LeEco for NextEV, which currently seems to have a shot at introducing an electric SUV to compete with Tesla’s Model X.

Ding quarterbacked LeEco’s self-driving LeSee EV project, which was unveiled at a promotion-heavy event last October. As for his influence at Faraday Future, not a lot is known. The man was present for the April groundbreaking of the company’s billion-dollar factory in Nevada and was on stage for last year’s presentation of FF’s insane FFZERO1 concept.

Construction on that factory is currently stalled due to nonpayment and it has millions in debt elsewhere, likely stemming from the rampant financial issues facing LeEco. While the Chinese company secured an investment of $1.4 billion from unnamed Chinese sources, it’s unclear how much of that will make its way toward Faraday — especially considering that LeEco just began construction on its own $1.6 billion EV factory in China’s Zhejiang province.

Where Faraday will get the money it needs to stabilize its own financial hardships are as ambiguous as the company’s discarnate hierarchy. An additional report from The Verge revealed that FF’s odd structuring includes a second entity based out of the Cayman Islands just for Faraday’s intellectual property. “If you’re an investor, you’re fucked,” an ex-executive told The Verge. “The company doesn’t own the IP.”

With all of that in mind, the company’s Twitter countdown seems to denote more than just the big unveiling of its first model at CES. It’s actually a countdown to the moment when we we’ll know for certain if Faraday Future will even be able to continue on as an organization.

Former executives from Faraday have hinted that the company’s first offering should be a luxury flagship sedan targeted to sell between $150,000 and $200,000 — significantly more than the stock Tesla Model S it is designed to compete with.

[Image: Faraday Future]

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  • Jansob Jansob on Jan 02, 2017

    I'm guessing they will hold a joint event with Moller Skycar, where their first production models will be rolled out for delivery to early investors.

  • Eyeflyistheeye Eyeflyistheeye on Jan 03, 2017

    I think they should have spent more time engineering and less time indulging the whims of their Ding Lei.

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.