With its former CEO stepping down, Faraway Future’s outlook may have looked a little grim. The Chinese-American electric vehicle startup has been struggling for a while now, and some may have viewed the change as another nail in the coffin. But we finally have some good news: Carsten Breitfeld, the man behind the development of the BMW i8 and co-founder of electric vehicle competitor Byton has just been brought on to replace Jia Yueting. Perhaps now Faraday Future and its new CEO can emerge from the financial cloud that has been shadowing it for so long.
Faraday Future & the New CEO
Breitfeld is no stranger to the realm of electric vehicles. The well-respected German engineer has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, and put that degree to good use for over 20 years at BMW. After providing leadership to a range of engineering divisions, development, and corporate strategy, he also spent more than 10 years as a BMW Group Vice President and Head of Vehicle Production i8.
Breitfeld left BMW in 2016 to fill key positions at Chinese electric car startups Byton and Iconiq before agreeing to join the Faraday Future team. Apparently there was talk of him joining the company in the past, but the recent upheaval and the removal of Yueting proved to be the catalyst needed to secure his involvement. His experience in bringing electric cars to market will be invaluable for Faraday Future.
Yueting will not be completely leaving the company that he helped found. His new role will be that of Chief Product and User Officer, where he can handle more of the nuts and bolts of development rather than actually running the company. Hopefully, that will be a better fit for him than his previous position.
Wasting no time, Breitfeld is already planning the company’s next steps. First on the list appears to be the hiring of staff in North America, where Yueting had been forced to lay off a good portion of his workforce due to financial difficulties. Faraday Future currently employs about 600 people around the world, almost half of which work in California.
After that, the focus will turn towards helping the company follow through with its original production goals. The FF91 should start production in 2020, being manufactured multiple configurations in Hanford, California. A smaller, more affordable model FF 81 model will probably begin production in China sometime in 2022.
Considering that the fledgling startup has already flirted with financial death twice in its short life, Breitfeld really has his work cut out for him. But if anyone can save Faraday Future from meeting a sad end, it just might be him.