By on July 9, 2020

On Wednesday, Lucid Motors announced plans to open 20 retail locations and service centers across North America by the end of 2021. They’ll be called “Lucid Studios,” helping the company herald in what it considers “new standards for sustainable transportation” via the sale of luxury vehicles.

You know as well as we do that this type of language is customary among EV startups trying to sell you on the concept of shopping your way into a healthier environment. Yet the strategy appears to be working. Electric vehicle firms seem to enjoy nothing but victory on this continent right now — even if they seem to be dying off in places like China — and are poised to make big moves over the next few years.  (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2020

Fisker Inc. is reportedly in talks to go public after seeing how well other electric vehicle manufacturers (prospective or otherwise) have performed on Wall Street this year. In case you missed it, Tesla became the most valuable automaker on the planet this summer, while startup Nikola saw its shares explode through the ceiling ⁠— despite having never manufactured a single product for purchase.

It seems like complete madness, so it aligns perfectly with just about everything else that’s happened in 2020.  (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2020

Early adopters willing to toss cash at an exciting idea have been the lifeblood of modern-day electric vehicles. Without investors believing in Tesla and cramming its sweet cheeks full of cash, it never would have gotten to a point where it could actually manufacture cars. The same is true for the thousands of people dropping deposits on vehicles that have yet to be produced, let alone tested by the community.

It’s time to do the same for American hybrid truck designer Nikola, true believers. The all-electric startup is now accepting deposits on its prospective pickup truck. Due to arrive in a few years, the unit currently has no prototype. Under normal circumstances, we’d continue ribbing the company via monthly updates until it dissolves like Faraday Future. But its ludicrous market valuation seems to indicate that the hype is very real, even if the same cannot be said about its products.  (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2020

Chinese electric car startup Byton will reportedly idle production next month as it attempts to reorganize itself. While the coronavirus emerged as a villain in this play, the issues confronting Byton actually seem pretty dire. The company isn’t just idling factories to address a health crisis, it’s shutting things down for six months while it engages in more fundraising and tries to pay what’s owed to employees.

That’ll be tough with no normal income. Byton has already furloughed a large portion of its staff in California and plans to cease all production in Nanjing. While we knew the PRC’s approach to electrification would ultimately result in countless EV startups going under, we didn’t expect Byton to be among them. Slick products, good marketing, and interesting designs made it seem like it could go the distance — now it seems wholly preoccupied with survival. (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2020

Following reports that Rivian might decide to move a large portion of its operations out of Michigan, news has reached us that it’s all but abandoning the Mitten State for sunny California.

Starting its life as Avera Motors in Florida back in 2009, the EV startup moved to Plymouth, Michigan in 2015 to poach talent from the Big Three and lay down some roots. However, the company doesn’t appear to have wormed its way into the soil all that deeply. It now plans to move a sizable portion of its operations to Irvine, California, with some employees heading to its plant in Normal, Illinois, to prepare for production.

This has got to be a slap in the face for some Michigan residents, since many were instrumental in the development of Rivian’s first models. The business fired a gaggle of people at its engineering and design center near Detroit at the start of June, only to slot in a couple of high-paid executives. Now it’s starting to look like it may pull up stakes and skip town. (Read More…)

By on June 9, 2020

Nikola, the Phoenix-based EV startup that hopped on the Nasdaq last week, finds itself awash in capital despite not having much to show for itself it terms of sellable product.

No matter, as it doesn’t take a sound business model or originality to thrive on Wall Street. Nikola hasn’t even seen fit to come up with a unique moniker for itself and instead uses the scraps left by Tesla Motors’ not using the full name of the inventor that serves as its inspiration. However, Nikola is designing battery/hydrogen-driven semi trailers and pickup trucks — which are the freshest fad in the industry at present. Investors took notice and pushed Nikola’s market cap past $26 billion on Monday. It just kept climbing, too, with only the eventual promise of product and profitability to spur them on.  (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2020

With the way China organized its great leap forward into electrification, we knew it would bury hundreds of automotive startups in the process. By propping up countless businesses, China ensured it could boast more new EV manufacturers than any other nation on the planet. Yet most  industry watchers presumed there would be a low survival rate once these fresh firms attempted to transition into legitimate automakers. Some analysts predicted only 10 percent would still be in operation by 2023, while others said 1 percent was probably more realistic.

While this trial by fire seemed poised to weed out lesser-known companies, we’ve seen major players struggling of late. One of them is NIO — a company broadly viewed as a Tesla rival, but which is probably most famous for building the EP9 electric hypercar that traveled the globe to smash EV records in 2017. NIO had a tough 2019, posting a $479-million loss during the second quarter and announced the elimination of 2,000 employees — that’s after it sold its Formula-E team, closed an office in California, abandoned at least one planned factory, and ditched one new model mid-development.

The company now openly acknowledges that it might not survive through 2020.  (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2020

Colorado has been considering allowing automakers to sell electric vehicles directly to consumers, but pushback from dealerships complicated things. Senate Bill 167 was intended to level the playing field against Tesla, which already engaged in direct sales, by opening up the door for rival electric vehicle manufacturers to similarly bypass the dealership model.

However, dealer groups noticed the language in the bill effectively permitted any automaker producing EVs to engage in direct sales, Naturally, they cried foul. The bill had its final legislative hearing on Monday, and its new language identifies a difference between a legacy automaker with existing storefronts and EV firms without them.  (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 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 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 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 15, 2018

Nio, originally launched as NextEV in 2014, announced that it had delivered 3,268 electric SUVs in the third quarter of 2018. Not only does this beg the question of when Nio swapped from Formula E and electrified hypercars to utility vehicles, but it also makes us wonder how a burgeoning EV firm managed to surpass production goals. Aren’t all zero-emission automobiles that aren’t developed by established automakers supposed to languish in purgatory?

Answering the first question is easy. Nio started deliveries of the ES8 crossover last June, though it still sells the high-performance EP9 for $1.2 million. We doubt that model provided any significant contributions to overall volume in Q3. The trickier bit of this equation is figuring out how the Nio moved all that metal. While 3,200 cars is a paltry some for a mainstream manufacturer, it’s pretty damn good for a company that just started building a volume electric. Even Tesla would have been envious in 2012.  (Read More…)

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