Faraday Future hasn’t been making many headlines of late. But it remains an active business entity, surprisingly enough. On Thursday, it announced it had selected Velodyne Lidar Inc. as the exclusive supplier for the sensing/mapping hardware that’s going into its flagship FF91 EV.
Faraday’s missteps have been so frequent and gargantuan, that it would be impossible to give the abridged history without still wasting a large portion of your day. We’ll spare you from that and allow interested parties to dig through older articles about factory snafus, secret management structures, faked prototypes, development setbacks, bankruptcy, and more. The only thing you need to remember is that it is genuinely miraculous that FF still exists as a company – almost like it’s a testament to the utter ridiculousness of some tech startups – that continues to believe it will someday manufacture an electric car.
It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on the company but 2021 has been a busy year for the brand, especially considering how quiet 2020 was in comparison to the three years of madness that preceded it. Company founder Jia Yueting declared personal bankruptcy late in 2019, after spending a few years on China’s financial blacklist.
He also became a person of interest for the U.S. Department of Justice, which dispatched trustees to oversee the Chapter 11 situation. They deemed him monetarily untrustworthy, making it incredibly difficult for him to stay on as head of the organization. Jia was replaced as Faraday’s global CEO by Carsten Breitfeld, who previously ran the Chinese EV startup Byton. Though FF has been a revolving door of executives moving between various tech firms and novice carmakers since its inception. The rest of 2020 was devoted to finding new investors while making inroads with suppliers or industry groups.
This year has seen the company assign a CEO to FF China (Xuefeng Chen) and confirm that it would indeed go public via a reverse merger with the special purpose acquisition company Property Solutions Acquisition Corp (one of those blank-check firms that help pull money out of thin air). Despite having some ardent dissenters, this tactic is pretty typical of modern technology startups because it frequently juices the IPO.
Faraday also announced dealings with NVIDIA to use its Drive Orin platform chip to deliver on autonomous driving promises and the signing of a “framework cooperation agreement” with Chinese automotive giant Zhejiang Geely. The duo is supposed to cooperate in technology and engineering support, and plan to explore the possibility of using OEM production services provided by the joint venture between Foxconn and Geely.
That makes the Velodyne Lidar deal the latest, but not the greatest thing currently happening at FF. The company is said to be supplying Faraday with solid-state Velarray H800 lidar sensors necessary for the FF91’s advanced driving aids and (eventually) the mapping required for autonomous driving.
“Velodyne is a well-known industry leader in performance, reliability and price in lidar solutions,” said Breitfeld. “We are embracing the latest technologies – including Velodyne’s Velarray H800 – to develop driver assistance features that help us deliver new levels of safety, driver comfort and convenience. The sensor supports safe navigation and collision avoidance, incorporated in the current vehicle architecture in a way that allows the FF 91 to maintain its future-forward design.”
With the model having been habitually delayed, this likely doesn’t matter to most readers. But Faraday has stated that it intends to launch the FF91 within 12 months of closing its merger with Property Solutions – giving it time to get the IPO out there and amass some capital.
[Images: Faraday Future]