The California EV company that has flirted with bankruptcy more times than I can count said this week that it needs more cash in order to launch its debut electric vehicle, the FF91. As such, the company is pushing back customer deliveries to the third or fourth quarter of 2022.
That may not seem so far off, but Faraday Future is not exactly known for its ability to meet deadlines. The company was late reporting its first quarterly earnings after going public through a merger with a “blank-check” company. And, of course, Faraday Future has missed several self-imposed deadlines for the launch of the FF91, which has been in development since at least 2016.
The FF91 was expected to launch as soon as this month, but now that will have to wait until later this year as the company seeks to shore up its cash reserves. In February, the company celebrated the completion of its first “production intent” FF91, the ultra-luxury electric SUV that has been in the works for nearly eight years. But “substantial capital” is still needed, not just to launch the FF91 but also for daily operations as well.
The company has been on shaky ground for most of its existence: Faraday Future said it was going to build a $1 billion factory in the Nevada desert but never did; it’s been hemorrhaging money and employees for years; it put its own headquarters up for sale to cover its debts; emergency investors emerged, only to later get mired in court battles over control of the money; and the founder and CEO, Jia Yueting, was hiding in the US from Chinese debt collectors.
Eventually, a new CEO was found, Jia filed for personal bankruptcy, and the company saw an opportunity to take advantage of the new money flowing into the EV startup space by merging with a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) and going public.
It’s been a wild ride. And it isn’t over yet: the company recently announced an internal investigation turned up numerous instances of inaccurate statements, leading to another leadership shake-up. The US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are both investigating the company’s SPAC merger.
Those inaccurate statements were related to the number of reservations Faraday Future has received for the FF91. The investigators found that the company’s claim of receiving more than 14,000 reservations for its FF91 vehicle was potentially misleading because only several hundred of those reservations were paid.
Given its troubled track record, it’s unclear where the company will turn for new investments. Faraday Future’s woes aren’t unique among newly public EV startups. Companies like Lordstown, Nikola, Rivian, Lucid, Electric Last Mile Solutions, and Canoo have encountered various obstacles on their way to producing their first vehicle and even beyond. Most have been criticized for overhyping their ability to meet their own production goals, make timely deliveries to customers, or eventually, earn a profit.