By on April 7, 2019

Faraday Future is my favorite automaker and it’s not because they build the best cars. With the exception of a few prototypes of the FF91, Faraday hasn’t really built much of anything. But I’ve become enamored with the story of a mysterious automotive company, funded by a controversial Chinese backer, that continues to defy the odds by just surviving — despite a long history of ridiculous mistakes, financial shortfalls, and missed production targets. For me, its been a suitable substitute for soap operas.

The last time we checked in on Faraday, it had just broken ties with its savior-turned-destructor Evergrande.  The company announced in January that it had agreed to restructure its $2 billion investment in FF and that both parties had acquiesced to drop all litigation against each other. Now Faraday is back with a new joint partnership and a new model — a minivan straight out of a late 20th century sci-fi flick. 

Thanks to its new partnership with the The9 Limited, FF is getting into position to help supply the Chinese market with an all-electric MPV the duo anticipates will sell at “300,000 units annually.” While that sounds slightly ambitious for a company that has failed on multiple occasions to bring its only existing model into production, we’re not about to tell FF how to run its business. It’s practically a miracle it still exists at this point, suggesting some cosmic intervention we don’t really want to mess with. However, the simpler explanation is that Faraday just happens to be very good at drumming up investors and maybe not so swift at completing the rest of its admittedly difficult industrial duties.

While the fate of the high-end FF91 remains uncertain, as Evergrande has not pulled out of their relationship entirely, that won’t be the car The9 is involved with. We previously noted that Faraday’s new business deal involves a new product called the V9. But it has turned out to be more of an offshoot than the central aspect of Faraday’s business plan and it’s still seeking investors. In fact, Faraday isn’t even responsible for manufacturing the car in China. The V9 will utilize the FF91’s platform and technology but The9 will be handling the brunt of the business in Asia.

From The9 Limited:

The9 Limited (Nasdaq: NCTY) (“The9”), an established Internet company, today announced that it has signed a joint venture agreement (the “JVA”) with [Faraday Future], a company incorporated and existing under the laws of California in the U.S. (“FF”) to establish a joint venture (the “JV”) to manufacture, market, distribute, and sell electric cars in China. The JV’s immediate objective is to exclusively manufacture, market, distribute, and sell the Faraday Future’s new brand V9 model, a flagship luxury IAIEV based on the technology and design concepts of the FF 91, FF’s flagship consumer car model, and other potential selected car models in China.

Right now the V9 is being called a “flagship luxury EV,” but the teaser photos coming from Faraday Future CEO Jia Yueting showcase a futuristic, minimalist people mover concept. Wheels are stretched to the very outside edges of a vehicle with a pronounced single-box design. Jia claimed it would be an “intelligent space” incorporating connectivity and some form of nondescript artificial intelligence. We’ve no clue how representative this will be of the finished product, assuming there is one, but The9 is targeting a 2020 launch date. Meanwhile, Faraday has previously claimed the FF91 should enter production by the end of this year.

Sink or swim, we’ll be watching — even if it’s just for the spectacle. But we’re not overly hopeful that the deal will manifest into anything physical. China is loaded with EV startups that don’t go anywhere and practically every company in the nation is taking a stab at the automotive sector, provided they have the capital to waste. But Faraday has surprised us in the past. Even if this deal fails, we bet there will be someone else in Asia willing to throw some cash at it. If the third or forth time isn’t the charm, maybe the sixth or seventh could be.

[Image: Faraday Future]

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