Faraday Future is an electric car company with a very uncertain future, following news that it would be ending its effort to build an assembly plant for its vehicles in Nevada. The company’s primary backer, China’s LeEco, is in dire financial straits, and the would-be Tesla challenger is facing its own heat as a result. Now, however, the company is revealing a big-name hire – Ulrich Kranz, who previously headed BMW’s electric “i” series vehicle program, is joining as Chief Technical Officer.
The addition of Kranz gives Faraday a new lead for its research and development, manufacturing, engineering and purchasing operations, the company tells me. He joins the company after a 30-year career at BMW, where he spent the past 10 years overseeing the i series, including the i3 and i8, BMW’s first dedicated EVs. Before that, Kranz led the MINI line, as well as product development across multiple areas at the automaker in previous roles.
Kranz’s long history at the German automaker makes the sudden shift to the untested and beleaguered FF all the more noteworthy; he’s hardly a callous climber, jumping from stunt hire to stunt hire. Still, there’s little doubt that Faraday considers this hire a strategic move – it’s a rare spot of good news for a company that has had precious little of late.
Faraday also says that it’s “nearing the end” of a search for a turn-key manufacturing option, after being forced to walk away from its custom-built Nevada facility. Going with an existing manufacturing facility will help it keep costs down and add some runway, as it seeks to get its initial FF 91 sport sedan to market. The automaker unquestionably still faces huge challenges, and I still wouldn’t call its prospects promising, but Kranz’s hire is an interesting development nonetheless.