Faraday Future, the California-based EV startup that has nearly gone out of business almost too many times to count, has finally made a car.
On Wednesday, the company held an event celebrating the completion of its first “production intent” FF91, the ultra-luxury electric SUV that has been in the works for nearly eight years. Faraday Future — which also goes by Faraday Future Intelligent Electric since merging with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in July 2021 — claims it is still on schedule to formally begin production of the FF91 in the third quarter of 2022.
It’s certainly a milestone for the company, which has experienced high rates of turnover, flirted with bankruptcy numerous times, and still somehow managed to come back from the brink. In fact, the company is calling it “Milestone #4” out of seven milestones that it says will eventually lead to the FF91’s “start of production.”
Of course, Faraday Future has made cars in the past. There was the infamous “Batmobile,” a static concept car that debuted at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. And there was the pre-production version of the FF91 that nearly gave me whiplash when I rode in it the following year.
It was that year, 2017, when things really started spiraling for Faraday Future. The company announced a $1 billion factory in the Nevada desert that never got built. It started hemorrhaging money and employees. It put its own headquarters up for sale. Emergency investors emerged, only to later get mired in court battles with Faraday Future over control of the money.
Eventually, a new CEO was found, Jia Yueting 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 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 shakeup. You guys!)
Now that it has its first car out the door, the company is turning to the real important stuff: marketing. Faraday Future is launching a new “multi-channel communication campaign” called “Born in California,” as well as something it’s calling “ieMedals campaign” to recognize its suppliers and contract manufacturers.
I know what you’re wondering: “That sounds rad. How can I earn my own ieMedal?” Glad you asked. According to Faraday Future, “users on the FF Intelligent App can earn the supplier ieMedals for their individual accounts by completing specific tasks or fulfilling co-creation challenge requirements. The ieMedals are electronic awards added to users’ FFID accounts on the FF Intelligent App.”
So, basically an NFT? It’s unclear exactly if these electronic awards will live on the blockchain, but I wouldn’t put it past Faraday Future to pull a kooky stunt like that. Shine on, you crazy diamonds.