A secretive Silicon Valley startup has quietly hired some of the world's most influential car designers and engineers in a bid to take on Tesla.
Called Faraday Future, the company was set up by two former Lotus employees with the dream of creating a next-generation electric vehicle. FF, as it prefers to be called, has over 200 employees according to LinkedIn and among them are some of the most influential automotive designers and engineers from recent years.
It is not clear who the ex-Lotus colleagues are, or who actually runs FF, but its employee roster includes Richard Kim, the former head of design for the BMW i3 and i8 prototypes. Nick Sampson, a former chassis engineer at Tesla, is another FF employee, as is Silva Hiti (former lead of powertrain development for the electric Chevrolet Volt), Pontus Fontaeus (interior designer formerly of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Land Rover), and Page Beermann (former creative director at BMW).
According to LinkedIn, other FF employees have come from Ford, Porsche, Boeing, Audi, Volvo, Apple, Tesla, General Motors and many more. The company is employing 10 new members of staff every week and claims it will have 300 by 2016. It is also on the lookout for a factory location, which is likely to be a contractor in the US with some major components built abroad.
The unnamed car will be the first of several, FF claims, and it will be powered by a battery 15% more powerful than the Tesla Model S's 85kW-hr pack, meaning 98kW-hr.
'We're not f**king around'
Faraday Future plans to have a car for sale in 2017, and when pushed for a quote by Motor Trend, the marketing team said: "We're not Tesla. But we're not [bankrupt electric car company] Fisker either. We're not f**king around." FF currently resides in a former Nissan research and design building in California.
The company boasts about hiring a "boatload of former Tesla employees," including staff from HR, manufacturing and purchasing.
FF has tweeted several renderings of what the first car might look like, but it is unlikely to resemble anything the world's roads have seen before. The company website says the only thing their car will have in common with today's vehicles is "four wheels...nearly everything else [will be different]."
It will be 100% electric, zero-emission, fully connected and "personalised in ways you've never even considered possible." FF's website suggests the current automotive industry resembles what life was like before the internet.
But FF shouldn't get carried away. This market is incredibly difficult to enter. Tesla burned through a heap of cash before its Model S began to sell in meaningful numbers, while fellow US electric car company Fisker produced one car, the Karma, before going bankrupt in 2013.
As for Faraday Future, the company will be slowly revealing more about itself and its new car through social media over the coming weeks and months.