By on December 30, 2016

FFZERO1 Faraday Future

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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14 Comments on “Faraday Future’s Ghost CEO Abandons Company Days Before Key Unveiling...”

  • avatar

    I once bought a Chinese-made steering wheel cover I had to toss after a few days because it violently outgassed something that smelled almost as bad as these EV ventures.

    At least T***a’s deliveries made it into 6 figures before its charlatanism became evident to all but the emotionally needy.

  • avatar

    “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.”

    How so?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      NextEV has shown itself capable of building actual vehicles and possesses a successful Formula E racing team. It has also taken a more realistic and less hype-based approach with the company. While I am not about to suggest NextEV’s Nio brand will be a sure thing, there is less reason to doubt the possibility. Faraday really has everything working against it while Next has plenty of room to destroy (or continue to build) trust.

  • avatar

    Who stands to profit off of failures like this? Aside from sandbagging their Chinese bosses, is there some kind of tax write-off the Americans involved in the deal can get?

  • avatar

    They need a new VP of product marketing? I’ll take the gig. $250K base salary annual, all up front, and I don’t start until the check clears the bank. ;-)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This company is a bad joke and needs to go away.

  • avatar

    All these Chinese startups have a couple of things in common:
    1. Eagerness to gain acceptance by showcasing spectacular-looking concepts and revealing multi-billion dollar plans. Trying to leap to the foreground in one swoop, what normally takes decades.
    2. Acceptance by establishing themselves in the cradle of new mobility ventures: in or around Silicon Valley (instead of China).
    3. Poaching away engineers from companies like Tesla, they all want to cater to the hi-end of the EV market; barely having an idea how to do things differently in a much broader perspective that would really set them apart.
    4. Wishful venturing that doesn’t take long for finance professionals to see right through it.

    On a much smaller scale, and completely going under the media’s radar, is the way Chinese Helix Motors tried to conduct business recently without actually having the IP rights (to electrically actuated tilt mechanisms in three-wheelers).

    • 0 avatar

      “acting global CEO.”

      I think that means someone who can round up Chinese dumb money.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I’m not sure there actually is “Chinese dumb money”. The communist Chinese seem to be pretty smart investors.

        Most of these major cash promises remain unconfirmed, which is a common theme in stories like this.

        • 0 avatar

          Over my head, really.. I was just assuming that there was some freedom over there for private investors to be flimflammed into the latest rich-quick schemes because their only expertise is with serially owning quick-collapse coal mines and bribing Party watchdogs.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

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

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