By on October 31, 2019

Fisker recently announced plans to debut the first of three affordable electric vehicles it wants to sell. The model, which founder Henrik Fisker said would be an SUV named Ocean, is scheduled to land on the North American market in 2021. “More info” is coming on November 27th and a near-production prototype is supposed to manifest in January.

The EV was originally supposed to appear in December, making this a modest delay. Normally we wouldn’t bat an eyelash at such a meager postponement, but Fisker has a poor track record for delivering on its promises.

Back when the company was still Fisker Automotive, it was building the Karma. Unfortunately, luxury plug-in hybrid didn’t sell and was plagued with quality issues. This author only recalls seeing one Karma outside of automotive trade shows, parked clumsily at a Massachusetts golf corse during the 2014 PGA Tour. While there were plans for the company to eventually build the more-practical Atlantic with help from BMW, things did not pan out.  (Read More…)

By on October 15, 2019

Faraday Future FF 91 rear

The founder of Faraday Future, Yueting Jia, has filed for bankruptcy and restructuring under Chapter 11 in the United States, according to a statement released by the company. The decision allows Jia (known within the company as “YT”) to address his debts in China, which can be measured billions, so his ownership of FF can be transferred to creditors.

Due to Faraday’s repeatedly broken promises and clandestine way of doing business, we’ve never had an overabundance of faith in the company. While that view hasn’t changed, the corporate statement frames Jia’s U.S. bankruptcy as a positive.  (Read More…)

By on September 24, 2019

Despite assuming the role of one of China’s most promising electric vehicle startups, NIO is struggling. The first quarter of this year was a mess. Worried about bad publicity stemming from battery fires, NIO recalled 4,800 vehicles ⁠— more than it sold in Q1. It also endured a noteworthy sales decline, a drop in share price, sold off its Formula E racing team, and announced it would cut around 10 percent of its workforce.

The situation has not improved for Q2. According to reports from the manufacturer, losses expanded 83.1 percent from the previous year to about 3.3 billion yuan ($463 million). Despite NIO’s recent addition of the ES6 crossover, Q2 sales were down 7.9 percent from Q1 ⁠— resulting in a grand total of 3,553 deliveries. NIO now believes it will have to sheer 20 percent of its workforce to save costs. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2019

Nio, one of China’s biggest EV startups, is confronting difficult times, though the primary reasons for its plight are less than obvious. Automotive startups have a low survival rate, but Nio was presumed to be the next big thing in vehicular electrification. It looked poised to become one of the few EV companies that would survive in Asia, likely serving as China’s response to Tesla, and even had a successful Formula E racing team to showcase its engineering might.

We sad had because Nio sold that team this year. It also needed to recall 4,800 vehicles after reports of three catching fire, endured a sizable sales drop, witnessed its share price plummet, announced plans to layoff 10 percent of its workforce, and just lost one of its co-founders.  (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2019

Faraday Future FF 91 rear

Faraday Future, the contentious automotive startup that always seems to find (and then lose) sizable amounts of cash, has announced it has once again managed to secure new funding. According to its press release, Faraday says will receive $225 million in bridge financing via a funding round led by Birch Lake Associates.

While the bulk of the cash will go towards paying off vendors, some of which have filed lawsuits, around 40 percent will be left over to help get the FF91 to market and prove the company can actually build a car. The strategy seems risky, but it may be Faraday’s best bet at this point.  (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2019

Over the past several years, the Chinese government embarked on an aggressive electric vehicle push, hoping to mitigate the nation’s severe air pollution, reduce its reliance on oil imports, and foster a high-tech manufacturing sector that could put the rest of the world to shame. The result of these efforts? Hundreds of new EV companies, propped up by Chinese subsidies and investors, with no real future.

While it was known that most of these startups would never make it to the finish line, estimates of their survivability rate has grown increasingly bleak. For a time, it was assumed that most would die out — leaving anywhere between 5 and 10 percent to reach the assembly phase. However, NIO Capital’s Ian Zhu posited that the number was likely closer to 1 percent last August.

China is now pulling back its support, with many believing the industrial bubble is about to pop. And they have the math to back it up.  (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2019

With Faraday Future and Evergrande Health having officially settled their bitter legal dispute late last year, the once-again independent automaker could finally get back to hunting for new investors. Despite Faraday’s entire existence being overshadowed by financial missteps and bizarre business dealings (resulting in an inability to deliver product), it’s extremely good at scrounging up funds. Breaking ties with its primary financial partner might have seemed like bad news, especially after so many near-death experiences, but this is where the company shines the brightest.

On Sunday, Faraday Future signed into a 50-50 partnership with Shanghai-based internet gaming operator The9 — which amassed its fortune after gaining exclusive licensing rights to operate and distribute the extremely popular World of Warcraft in China. Faraday said the deal marks the first step in its plan to officially launch its dual-home-market strategy in both China and the United States.  (Read More…)

By on January 2, 2019

ff91

Faraday Future, the Chino-American EV developer that’s always in dutch, said Monday it has established and signed a new restructuring agreement with its main investor, Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd. The deal concludes a rather ugly legal dispute between the two — one which placed Faraday’s intellectual property and finances in serious jeopardy.

Following the departure of co-founder Nick Sampson in November, the automaker found itself seeking new financing opportunities. Evergrande, which purchased a majority take in the EV firm via its summer acquisition of Season Smart, attempted to block new investments while Faraday accused the company of attempting a forcible takeover of the automaker by withholding funds earmarked for outstanding debts. Those funds were essential in helping it reach agreed-upon production targets.  (Read More…)

By on November 4, 2018

ff91

Faraday Future’s path to glory has been complicated to say the least. A series of ludicrously ambitious moves have been plighted with failure, followed by renewed hopes that were ultimately dashed. Incredibly, the aspiring automaker still exists and intends to begin production of its first electric vehicle once its money troubles are over.

Unfortunately, the company is currently engaged in a bitter legal battle with its biggest investor, China’s Evergrande Group, after a planned $2 billion investment went south. The reasons as to why are as foggy as the memory of a heavy drinker but Faraday wanted to trudge onward anyway. Initially, that seemed impossible — especially considering Evergrande held the ability to block any additional investments into the company. However, an interim ruling by a Hong Kong arbitration court has granted Faraday relief to seek financing without approval.  (Read More…)

By on October 31, 2018

Faraday Future FF 91 rear

Faraday Future co-founder Nick Sampson has quit his executive post as the aspiring automaker continues struggling with finance issues relating to its latest financial backer and China’s second-largest real estate developer, Evergrande Group.

That leaves CEO Jia Yueting as the company’s only founding executive left on staff. But it would appear he might also leave, albeit under duress, if Faraday’s largest shareholder gets its way. While it’s not obvious exactly who shot first, the electric vehicle firm and Evergrande are at each other’s throats — ruining a $2 billion deal that was supposed to save the company and get its ambitious debut model, the FF 91, into production. Apparently, it was all too much for Sampson. (Read More…)

By on October 22, 2018

Faraday Future FF 91 profile

Following a previous article about Faraday Future, the manufacturer reached out to yours truly to clarify a few things. First of all, the company deemed the headline and body a bit “jagged.” Understandable, as no manufacturer wants to be called “America’s Worst Automaker” by some bespectacled creep sitting behind a keyboard. Faraday’s spokesperson also noted that deliveries would not begin in December and that the vehicle fire we referenced was a “minor incident” involving a pre-production model undergoing testing at the firm’s Hanford manufacturing facility.

Actually, that makes things sound a little worse than initially reported, as it appears the company doesn’t have a production date anymore. But I will acquiesce that I could have been clearer with that’s going on with its new financial backer, Evergrande. The pair have been at each other’s throats over money for a while, which is important because the spat is now costing people their jobs. We really need to get into the nitty gritty as to why.  (Read More…)

By on October 12, 2018

Faraday Future FF 91

Faraday Future’s summer fling with Chinese real estate group Evergrande, which invested $800 million into the company last June, appears to be over. The “automaker” is allegedly trying to back out of its arrangement after its CEO and founder, Jia Yueting, requested an additional $700 million in funding. The official deal calls for another $1.2 billion over the next two years.

Faraday has a real knack for screwing over anyone who lends it any kind of financial help, and it looks like its biggest investor doesn’t want to get burned. As a result, the carmaker wants out and Jia has begun seeking arbitration to abandon the sale.

So far as we know, Evergrande stipulated that the company had to hand over its intellectual property and begin mass production of the FF91 before year’s end — otherwise Jia will be ousted as CEO. Officially, Faraday says it’s on track for December deliveries, but all we’ve actually seen are a few side panels being passed around by robots and one completed shell. Meanwhile, the manufacturer’s only completed pre-production prototype was reported to have caught fire last month, following an event where it was shown to employees and their families. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2018

Faraday Future FF 91

Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd, which owns a 45 percent stake in U.S.-based Faraday Future, said Tuesday that the electric vehicle startup has officially moved its headquarters to China. The group claims Faraday now plans on building five R&D and production facilities across the country over the next decade.

The intended goal is to have the startup reach an annual production capacity of 5 million vehicles within 10 years and launch multiple “premium to entry-level segments for the global auto market, to build an internet-based intelligent mobility ecosystem,” Evergrande said.

It sounds a little premature for a company that managed to evade certain death by the skin of its teeth — and only just snagged a manufacturing facility — a few months ago.
(Read More…)

By on August 13, 2018

China has bit of a gambling problem when it comes to electric car manufacturers, though it should probably be referred to as a “gambling solution.”

The country dumps vast sums of money into hundreds of EV startups, effectively hedging its bets by placing chips on absolutely everyone. With $15 billion already invested, the nation intends to put another $47 billion toward the cause — plus whatever funding investment firms decide to contribute. While the strategy has definitely stimulated the economy, created jobs, and supersized the industry, there’s growing concern that creating a battle royale between startups could blow up in China’s face.

Even if it doesn’t, there’ll still be a bunch of automakers eating each other until only a handful remain. Previous estimates had that number riding around 5 percent of the whole. But NIO Capital, the Chinese investment firm that’s already invested a gratuitous amount of funds into advanced automotive tech, claims the actual number will be far lower — probably around 1 percent.  (Read More…)

By on July 31, 2018

Take the following information with a golf ball-sized grain of salt. Faraday Future, the automotive startup that’s been teetering on the verge of collapse for years, says deliveries of the FF 91 will begin in December. Despite being ghost-funded by a Chinese billionaire who’s been blacklisted due to unpaid debts, losing a factory deal with the State of Nevada, witnessing a mass exodus of its staff, and accumulating heaps of debt, Faraday claims it’s ready to move forward with assembly.

You’ll have to excuse the skepticism. But the brand has burned us in the past — delivering an ambitious but incomplete prototype, loads of hype, and little else.

Saying that production is an assurance with no request for additional investment is like getting an email from a Nigerian prince who just wants you to know that he’s good on the money front and wishes you well.  (Read More…)

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