“We’re not Tesla. But we’re not Fisker either. We’re not fucking around.” – Faraday Future; a new electric vehicle company

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That’s what a Faraday Future representative told MotorTrend when asked about the reality of launching a car, which is undoubtedly one of the most difficult kind of product to bring to market. The young electric car company, whose name is still only a placeholder, took a small step out of “stealth mode” yesterday to disclose that they are looking for a location, in the US, for a new manufacturing facility.

We first heard of Faraday Future earlier this year after receiving some unconfirmed tips about Apple being involved with the startup company through their secretive vehicle program. Although Apple’s involvement remains unconfirmed, Faraday Future is a very real company.

Founded just last year, Faraday Future, or FF, already claims over 200 employees. It’s not clear exactly who founded the company, but Nick Sampson is listed on LinkedIn as Product Architect, VP of Product Research and Development, and a “founding member of the Executive team of FF”.

Sampson was Director of Vehicle and Chassis Engineering at Tesla from 2010 to 2012, during the bulk of the development of the Model S. Before Tesla, the engineer was a 10 year veteran of Lotus, who was also Tesla’s partner for the manufacturing of the Tesla Roadster.

The links between FF and Tesla Motors don’t stop here, the company appears to be heavily hiring from Tesla. Aside from Sampson, a quick LinkedIn research shows a lot of other former key Tesla employees, including Alan Cherry, VP of Human Resources, a former senior Director of HR at Tesla from 2008 to 2012, and quite a few engineers like Umran Ashraf, a former Design Engineer at Tesla, he was a key architect of the Model S’ aluminum body.

Not directly related to Tesla, but worth mentioning, FF hired Porter Harris, a former Energy Storage Engineer at SpaceX, to lead their battery engineering effort. He left SpaceX, a company founded by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, in November last year.

Here are a few other former Tesla employees now working for Faraday Future:

  • Sue Neuhauser: Former Senior Lead Designer CMF at Tesla from 2011 to 2015. Now Chief Designer CMF at FF
  • Matt Sampson: Former Vehicle Packaging Engineer at Tesla from 2010 to 2015. Now Principal Engineer at FF
  • Paul Famiglietti: Former Contract Launch Support Engineer at Tesla from 2012 to 2015. Now Principal Engineer at FF

Not much else is known about Faraday Future or the vehicle they are developing and expect to launch in 2017. The company describes itself as being “fully funded”, which is quite important in a capital-intensive business like the automotive industry. FF told VentureBeat that they want to build a manufacturing plant in the US and that they narrowed down the location to 4 states still in the running for the project: Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, and California.

The company is going for a very aggressive timeline. They expect to choose the location of their factory by the end of the quarter and then launch their vehicle within the next 2 years.

As for the vehicle itself, again not much is known, but FF is talking about a “connected” electric vehicle and looking at design drawings (see featured picture above), it looks like they are going for an high-end sport car. The company did leak some information about the battery technology that their vehicles will use:

  • It will have 15 percent higher specific energy than a Tesla Model S 85 kW-hr pack. That works out to 98 kW-hr.
  • It’s a multi-cell solution, like Tesla’s.
  • The company is aiming for the highest energy density and specific energy vehicle on the market.
  • It will be single cell, thermal-runaway fault tolerant (will not propagate to other cells)
  • Single or groups of cells can be replaced.
  • Module designed for mass production, utilizing new processes and technologies
  • Same battery design to be used in all vehicles with only a change in capacity (no change in voltage)
  • The higher energy density allows for larger crumple zones than on the Tesla Model S.

Faraday Future is not the first electric car company seemingly founded by former Tesla employees. Earlier this year, we wrote about Atieva, which is also well staffed by Tesla alumni and funded by Beijing Automotive Industry Holding, a Chinese state-owned car business and holding company.

If things go well for both companies, Tesla might be on its way to eventually create the “Tesla Mafia”, in reference to the term “Paypal Mafia” – former Paypal employees making it big in the tech world.

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Comments

  1. BEP - 8 years ago

    “15 percent higher specific energy” doesn’t mean 15 percent higher energy. So 98 kWh doesn’t make sense.
    Every car battery is a multi-cell solution.

    Anyway this kind of statements are always laughable… “higher energy density than a Model S”. Great, but the Tesla is available now (and has been on the market for quite a while), while those FF guys have nothing. And in two years it will surely have a battery with higher density than now. And it will be a lot cheaper, too. Good luck.

    • Fred Lambert - 8 years ago

      Yeah I admit that they reported weird claims and presented them all in comparison to Tesla.

      I think overall what they were trying to say is that they are aiming for 15% higher energy capacity than the Model S, so about 100 kWh and that they should be able to do that with a similar pack layout as the Model S, but with much higher energy density, so a much smaller pack.

      But like you said, these are just claims.

      • BEP - 8 years ago

        No way. “15% higher capacity” in a “much smaller pack” would mean an incredible energy density. They know they won’t be able to do that. I think they just actually mean 15% higher specific energy, which is quite reasonable: as Musk yesterday (Friday) once again said, Tesla also expects ~5% increases in energy density per year.

        And btw: whose name, not who’s name. Call me grammar Nazi.

      • Fred Lambert - 8 years ago

        Keep in mind that are comparing their energy density with Tesla now, not Tesla 2 years from now. You said it yourself, Tesla plans on increasing energy density by 5 to 10% every year, so it’s not impossible for Faraday to have a ~15% higher energy density pack 2 years from now. The question is how will it fair with Tesla’s offering in 2017. It will likely be subpar, and I think they know that since they said: “we’re not Tesla, but we’re not Fisker either”.

  2. Nathanael - 8 years ago

    They claim that they’re going to find a factory site “next year” (2016) and that they’ll be mass-producing cars in 2017.

    Suuuuure. It takes longer than that to set up a factory, hire workers, train workers, program robots, test, etc. etc. etc.

    They seem to be copying Tesla’s habit of overly-optimistic timeline announcements. I wish them luck and hope to see their car in 2019 or 2020.

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