There were five. And now, there are none.
Faraday Future, the once-buzzy Chinese electric vehicle startup that has delivered lots of promises and fanfare, but has struggled to deliver an actual product, suffered back-to-back departures this week of the remaining five founding members of its executive team. Nick Sampson, a co-founder and senior vice president of product strategy, and Dag Reckhorn, the company’s senior vice president of global manufacturing, resigned this week.
The departures were first reported by The Verge, which has closely followed the company’s numerous problems. Sampson confirmed his resignation to TechCrunch. Faraday Future has not responded to a request for comment. (We’ll update if that happens).
Faraday Future initially launched with the backing of Jia Yueting, who co-founded the company with Sampson, a former Tesla director, and Tony Nie, a former Lotus executive. Nie left earlier this year. The founding executive team included Reckhorn, Sampson, Richard Kim as well as two other Tesla veterans Alan Cherry and Tom Wessner.
Sampson and Reckhorn were the last of the founding executive team. Only Jia Yueting, the company’s initial backer, co-founder and CEO, remains.
It’s been more than four years of drama for the company that has been trying to begin production of an ultra luxury electric SUV called the FF91 by the end of the year.
It’s most recent setback may sound the death knell for Faraday Future. The company is quickly running out of money, a problem that accelerated during a fight with its main financial backer, Chinese real estate giant Evergrande Group. Evergrande came to Faraday’s rescue just as it was running out of cash in 2017 and took a 45 percent stake in the company for $2 billion.
That relationship has since soured. Faraday had spent $800 million by July 2018 as it pushed to complete a pre-production version of the FF91 vehicle at its Hanford, California factory. Evergrande has denied an advance of any more capital and accused Jia of trying to back out of its investor deal. The case went to arbitration and Faraday Future is allowed to seek up to $500 million in new investment — if it can find a willing investor. Even then, Evergrande must still approve any deal.
Now, as Faraday Future seeks other investments, the company has laid off employees, cut salaries and most recently shut down some operations at its Hanford factory and Gardena, California headquarters.