New EV player Faraday invests $1bn in US manufacturing site

A screen grab from the Faraday Future website - image courtesy of Faraday Future.
A screen grab from the Faraday Future website - image courtesy of Faraday Future.

New electric vehicle (EV) and future mobility startup, Faraday Future, is set to make a $1bn investment in a US manufacturing facility in an effort to deliver its first vehicle by 2017.

The specific location of the manufacturing facility is not yet known, with the company considering locations in California, Georgia, Louisiana and Nevada. According to a post on Faraday Future’s website, the exact location of the site will be announced in the coming weeks.

The rapidly-growing company and its intentions to ‘innovate the automotive industry’ are surrounded by mystery amidst speculation that it could be a front for Apple’s transition into the electric car market.

This hypothesis stemmed from the secrecy surrounding the project, which many felt was typical of an Apple announcement. It also followed comments from Elon Musk about Apple poaching many of his ex-staff. E-bike company Mission Motorcycles also told Reuters in September that Apple poached many of the group’s top engineers.

However, the most recent suggestion, according to an article published by Fortune, is that the owner is actually Chinese media firm, LeTV, which runs the Chinese equivalent of Netflix. But so far no concrete confirmation of this claim has yet surfaced, so the full story is still anybody’s guess.

What we do know about Faraday Future

What is known is that Faraday Future gets its name from 19th-century English scientist Michael Faraday, who created the first electric power generator. And in just 18 months,  the company amassed more than 400 employees and plans to deliver a vehicle in far less than the conventional time frame from conception to production.

Although the senior management are still fairly tight lipped, information is starting to trickle down to the media.

“We are very excited to make our one billion dollar investment in US manufacturing—and this is just phase one. Selecting the right location for the future FF manufacturing facility is critical to our overall goals. Producing our forward-looking and fully-connected electric vehicles not only requires the latest technology, but the right community partner,” said Nick Sampson, senior vice president of Faraday Future.

Faraday Future said in a post on their website that in addition to producing electric vehicles they aim to explore other aspects of automotive technology including autonomous driving and unique ownership and usage models.

“With energy constraints, urban crowding, and the increasingly intrinsic relationship we have with technology, today’s cars simply do not meet today’s needs.

“Our range of 100% electric and intelligent vehicles will offer seamless connectivity to the outside world,” said Sampson.

Apple originally expected to ‘ship’ an EV in 2019

Apple was expected to expand its existing technology range with an electric car after setting a target shipping date for 2019, according to a Wall Street Journal report from earlier this year.

The report cited sources close to the matter and outlined that Apple has internally designated the electric car as a “committed project”.

Apple’s alleged team covering the electric car project is expected to grow rapidly, with the tech giant employing a number of electric car experts from companies like Tesla Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.

The project was said to be code-named ‘Titan’ within Apple and the company had been in talks with California officials to discuss the feasibility of a vehicle, the report outlined.

Speculation of electric vehicle interests has been building for quite some time, following reports in August of sources telling Reuters that Apple was developing an electric car that may feature self-driving technology.