Originally published on Gas2.
Electric car enthusiasts are pretty quick to drop the term “vaporware” these days… because there’s a lot of vaporware in this market. Heck, there’s a lot of vaporware in the car market in general. So, when Faraday Future* unveiled plans this week to build high-performance electric cars, it decided to jump straight to the chase with this statement: “We’re not Tesla. But we’re not Fisker either. We’re not f***ing around.”
I think it’s a good idea to be realistic and make it clear that you are not claiming to be an equal to Tesla — no company is. It would be great to see more electric car companies launch, survive, and thrive, but it took Tesla nearly a decade to get where it is, so anyone claiming they can match Tesla right out of the blocks needs to have their head checked or be called out for their bulls**tting.
The Fisker Karma is apparently about to relaunch after years of difficulty… under Chinese ownership, but honestly, let’s not even go there. Faraday Future’s point is that it doesn’t intend to crash and burn like Fisker did. Fair enough.
Faraday Future is still in the early stages of its work, though. It was just founded last year and it is now reportedly looking for a manufacturing facility in the US. That said, it must have some serious investors behind it, as it already has about 200 employees. Former Tesla Motors Director Vehicle & Chassis Engineering Nick Sampson is apparently Faraday Future’s Product Architect and VP Product Research & Development, as well as a cofounder. Nick was the Director Vehicle & Chassis Engineering at Tesla from 2010 to 2012, means he was heavily involved in the development of the world-shocking Tesla Model S (see here, here, here, here, and here if you don’t follow Tesla news like it’s a life necessity). Not a bad person to have on your founding executive team.
“The links between FF and Tesla Motors don’t stop here, the company appears to be heavily hiring from Tesla,” Elektrek‘s Fred Lambert notes.
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
In other words, yes, this ain’t no joke. This ain’t no Fisker. And these guys certainly aren’t just f***ing around.
Word is that Faraday Future will launch an electric vehicle in 2017. Not many more details are available, but there are some details on the heart of the vehicle, its batteries (via Electrek):
- 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.
That sounds freakin’ exciting, doesn’t it? It certainly would be nice to have some actual Tesla competitors on the market!
*Note: Faraday Future doesn’t appear to be at all related to Faraday.