No one knows who’s running it, but a mysterious electric car company is building a billion-dollar manufacturing plant and poaching the best minds in the auto world.
The company is called Faraday Future, and it began operating out of an old Nissan research facility in California sometime last year. The name Faraday comes from the English scientist Michael Faraday who contributed massively to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.
It currently has over 400 employees working for it, but company bosses claim to be hiring around 10 new staff members per week in various fields with the aim of having 500 by the end of the year. But for now, its staff boasts a who’s-who of electric car engineers and designers.
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This includes the former vehicle and chassis engineer for the Tesla Model S, the head designer of the BMW i8, a former interior designer for Ferrari and a battery specialist from the Elon Musk-owned Space X. A further LinkedIn search reveals more employees that have significant experience at massive auto companies such as Ford, General Motors, Volvo and even the likes of Facebook and Google.
Nick Sampson, who was the former director of vehicle and chassis engineering for Tesla is now the senior vice president at the company and seems to be acting as the spokesman for the company.
He recently told US media that the company would launch a brand new electric car in 2017 that would rival the Tesla Model S, and a press release revealed the company was ready to get that going.
Faraday says it will invest one billion US dollars in a manufacturing plant in either its home state of California, Nevada, Georgia or Louisana, however it doesn’t have a location set in stone yet.
“Producing our forward-looking and fully-connected electric vehicles not only requires the latest technology, but the right community partner,” Sampson said in the release.
Despite the fact the car company has close to 500 employees, no one really knows anything about the car they’re making aside from the fact it’s completely electric and will be packed with connected-car features. The range of the car isn’t known, nor is its speed, but the company has revealed it will have a battery pack with 15 per cent more capacity than the Model S 85kW-hr. If the range for that is around 435kms, you can assume Faraday is aiming for at least 500kms of range for its car.
In terms of design, the company has a teaser rendering on its website of an SUV which looks very BMW X6-esque.
It’s not just building electric cars that Faraday is interested in too, with the release saying that it, “plans to explore other aspects of the automotive and technology industries, including unique ownership and usage models, in-vehicle content and autonomous driving.”
It’s a very ambitious aim for a company that has no product, no publicly announced CEO and a team of just 400-500 people. But Faraday claims it has already begun purchasing orders for components and secured parts suppliers for its products, while its manufacturing plant will begin construction early next year.
Initially the fact the company refused to disclose its CEO intrigued people, but later it was shrugged off as a hype-builder. Now Faraday has funding for a manufacturing plant, the mystery has garnered serious interest.
When the Wall Street Journal pushed Sampson on where the significant amount of money for his virtually unknown company had come from reporters were simply told “we are keeping our partners confidential”.
One rumor is that Faraday could be a dummy company created by Apple to hide its car plans until they’re ready.
The basis to the theory obviously begins around the fact that it’s almost certain that Apple will be entering the car market over the next five years. Apple has never been one to reveal its plans so far away from release and hiding a massive manufacturing plant would be even harder.
This would also explain the lack of known CEO, as pushing an Apple executive to that position would immediately give it away, and it would be highly unlikely Apple would put someone that hasn’t spent time there in that role. Let’s not also forget that Faraday seemed to have plucked its funding in an extremely short time.
Apple has also just bought a huge amount of land in California, twice the size of its new ‘spaceship’ campus.
The huge amount of Tesla employees on the Faraday payroll could also align with Elon Musk’s comments that Apple is stealing loads of his engineers for big bucks.
Regardless of how accurate the Apple rumour seems to be, it looks like Tesla might finally have its first proper electric car rival.