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Faraday Future “Effectively Insolvent,” Says Co-Founder

Battery-carmaker confirms second round of job cuts.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.31, 2018

Nick Sampson, (r), one of the Faraday Future founders, is shown with investor Jia Yueting, (l) at the debut of the FF91 concept in January 2016.

The California-based battery-car company Faraday Future is “effectively insolvent,” according to co-founder Nick Sampson who resigned on Tuesday.

His departure comes as the once-promising company prepares for a second round of mass layoffs, a Faraday spokesman advised late Tuesday evening. Faraday had already laid off a sizable number of its approximately 1,300 employees last week as it struggled to find enough cash to continue operating.

Breaking News!

“There is a furlough pending,” said spokesman Jacob Brown, adding that Faraday needs to take “drastic measures, but the executive team wants to keep the company running.”


BMW Reversing Course With Future EVs

Automaker abandoning unique platforms to offer electric options on all models.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.22, 2018

The BMW i4, due to market around 2020, will offer a battery range of more than 400 miles.

BMW made headlines when it launched the industry’s first unique electrified vehicle sub-brand with the debut of its i3 and 15 models five years ago and its getting ready to expand the line-up with several new offerings, including a production version of the coupe-like i4 sedan that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last autumn.

Set to reach showrooms by 2020, BMW CEO Harald Kruger said the i4 will offer a range of up to 435 miles per charge, nearly a third better than the industry’s current long-range champ, the Tesla Model S P100D – and more than triple what the all-electric i3 model today delivers. But the debut of the i4 will also mark another critical milestone for BMW’s push into electrification.


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On Wednesday, as reports in a separate story, BMW announced a major increase in spending on both electrified and autonomous vehicle programs. The i4 will be one of 25 electrified models by 2025, 12 of them pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. According to an earlier statement by Kruger, “all fully-electric BMWs will belong to BMW i,” but, that said, there will be some major changes to that electric brand going forward. Most importantly, future products, like the i4, will no longer be based on unique, standalone platforms like those use for the i3 and 15 models.


VW Confirms New I.D. Vizzion Concept Will Reach Showrooms “By 2022 at the Latest”

Electric sedan will eventually add full autonomy.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.05, 2018

The Vizzion Concept is set to become the fourth model in the new Volkswagen I.D. sub-brand.

Volkswagen has rolled out the fourth in a series of concept vehicles meant to preview the all-electric I.D. family it will launch by the end of this decade and, as with earlier models like the Crozz and Buzz, you can expect to see the big I.D. Vizzion sedan roll into showrooms “by 2022 at the latest,” the automaker said, at the big sedan’s official Geneva Motor Show debut.

Something of a battery-electric replacement for the VW brand’s old flagship, the Phaeton, the I.D. Vizzion concept offers a range of cutting-edge technologies, as well as an interior that can be transformed into a mobile living room when operating in fully autonomous mode.

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“The I.D. VIZZION shows what our brand is capable of in terms of technology, design and quality,” said VW brand boss Herbert Diess, during a showcase of new products by the various marques operated by the parent Volkswagen Group. “ It is the most personal, most emotional and most individual Volkswagen of all times. And it also shows that, even in the electric, self-driving future, we will be using desirable, expressive and individual automobiles – and not just uniform tin boxes.”


BMW Offers Sportier Take with Gen-2 i3 City Car

Sportier i3s version added for 2018.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.28, 2017

The mid-cycle update of the BMW i3 will be paired with a more sporty i3s version for 2018.

The coming year could be a big one for the battery-car market. Manufacturers are starting to roll out what promises to be a flood of new choices by the end of the decade. And while the spotlight seems to be centered on the new Tesla Model 3, buyers will have a number of options to choose from for 2018, including an all-new version of the BMW i3 city car.

Make that versions – plural – as the Bavarian maker is not only rolling out the second-generation i3 but adding a sportier version that it has dubbed the i3s. While primarily designed for urban living, both variants will offer the option of adding a range-extending two-cylinder gasoline engine for the occasional, longer trip out into the suburbs.


First introduced in the 2014 model-year, the BMW i3 has won a range of awards, most notably being named World Urban Car of the Year at the New York International Auto Show last spring. But it’s going to be facing a lot more competition in the near future, notably from products like the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt EV, both of which offer more than twice the range of the i3 in pure electric mode.


Mysterious Faraday Future Takes a Step Closer to Reality

Chinese-owned battery-carmaker signs up Korean battery supplier.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.04, 2016

The Faraday Future FF Zero1 concept made its debut at CES Las Vegas last January.

Faraday Future, the mysterious, Chinese-owned automotive start-up, has taken a critical step closer to getting something on the road.

Based in the old Nissan headquarters in suburban Los Angeles, Faraday has signed up the Korean-owned LG Chem to provide the lithium-ion batteries that will power its planned line-up of electric vehicles. LG Chem is the same battery supplier used for the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Chevy Bolt battery-electric vehicle.


“LG Chem worked closely with Faraday Future to develop a tailored cell chemistry to optimize the range and safety of our mass production battery hardware,” said Tom Wessner, Faraday Future’s vice president of global supply chain.


Despite Low Gas Prices, Interest in EVs Still Significant

Californians, Northeasterners express curiosity about battery electrics.

by Michael Strong on May.26, 2016

A creep upward in gas prices may be stimulating interest in EVs. A new survey shows some parts of the country are curious.

With the holiday weekend upon us, the inevitable creep of rising gas prices is beginning to force some motorists to wonder: when will be back to $4 a gallon gasoline? This kind of burbling concern can only make EV automakers giddy with anticipation.

In fact, on America’s coasts, the demand for electric vehicles is still surprisingly high, even in an era of $2.28 a gallon gasoline.


A recent survey by the Union of Concerned Scientists revealed more than half of Californians are likely to consider an electric vehicle as their next vehicle and in the Northeast, 35% of owners are likely to have an EV in their ranks of possible purchases next, in spite of the limitations that cold weather places on electric vehicles. (more…)

Still Secret Apple Car Project Suffers Series of Setbacks

But project moving ahead, says key rival.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.26, 2016

Apple execs won't confirm their plans but hint of "massive change" coming in the auto industry.

While tech giant Apple isn’t ready to confirm the car project it has reportedly dubbed Project Titan, it has become what one rival calls “an open secret.” But while the program appears to be moving ahead, sources warn that it has suffered a series of unexpected setbacks.

One of the key members of a team now said to number as many as 1,000 employees plans to leave, while another senior Apple exec has expressed his frustration at the progress the program is making, according to reports from Silicon Valley.


That said, after touring Silicon Valley this past week, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche told the German publication Welt am Sonntag he was impressed with what he learned about the car programs at Apple and tech rival Google.


Ford, Oregon Utility to Prepare for EVs

The automaker and Portland General Electric will share information, promote electric vehicles.

by Bryan Laviolette on Aug.24, 2010

Ford's first electric vehicle will be a version of the Transit Connect utility van.

Ford is partnering up with Portland General Electric to prepare the Portland area and the rest of the Pacific Northwest for the arrival of electric vehicles.

Ford plans to roll out two electric vehicles during the next two years, as well as a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Ford will supply PGE with information on charging needs so that the utility can ensure that the electrical grid can support the new range of electric vehicles. The automaker and utility will partner on consumer education outreach regarding EVs.


Electrified coverage!

Additionally, Ford will work with universities, including Portland State, on studies of urban mobility and integration of energy and sustainable design.  (more…)

First Look: 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV battery car

Japanese maker bills it as the "ultimate eco-car."

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jun.04, 2009

Mitsubishi plans to begin shipping its battery-electric i-MiEV to fleet customers, starting in July, with consumer sales launching in April 2010.

Mitsubishi plans to begin shipping its battery-electric i-MiEV to fleet customers, starting in July, with consumer sales launching in April 2010.

Mitsubishi is hoping car buyers will get wired up about its all-new battery car, the 2010 i-MiEV, which it plans to introduce for fleet sales sometime in late July of this year.

The Japanese automaker dubs the limited-volume EV “the ultimate eco-car,” describing it as describing it as “the pioneer that will open the door to the next 100 years of our automobile society.”

Quite a promise from a company that has been struggling to stay in business, in recent years, but there seems little doubt that the automotive industry is moving fast into the world of “electrification.”

The i-MiEV is the production version of an earlier show car, the Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle.  The production “I” version uses an innovative layout that places the hatchback’s batteries under the floor and the battery control system in the rear cargo bay.

A typical driver is expected to get about 160 kilometers, or 100 miles per charge.  Mitsubishi notes that research shows 90% of Japanese drivers clock less than 25 miles a day during the week, and under 40 on the weekends. (more…)

Tesla Reveals Coupe-Like EV Model S Sedan

Silicon Valley start-up claims 300 mile range, 45-minute charges for 7-seater.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.27, 2009

Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors promises to deliver a 7-seat family sedan with huge storage, 300-mile range and 45-minute charges by 2011.

Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors promises to deliver a 7-seat family sedan with huge storage, 300-mile range and 45-minute charges by 2011.

Could the battery car finally be ready to replace the conventional, gasoline-powered automobile?

The Silicon Valley start-up, Tesla Motors, is betting its latest offering could come a lot closer to achieving that green-minded goal, by addressing some of the traditional shortfalls of the electric vehicle: limited range, long charging times, limited functionality, quirky styling and high cost.

Tesla CEO and Internet gazillionaire Elon Musk has revealed his battery-powered Holy Grail to a series of potential customers, and has the inside story on the new Model S, which Musk suggests, “will likely be the world’s first, mass-produced, highway-capable EV.”

Whether Tesla can deliver is anything but certain.  Despite the deep pockets of its founder, the company is struggling to come up with the money needed to build an assembly plant.  It had to delay the launch of its Roadster due to nagging technical issues.  And even an online news conference, intended to help launch the Model S, was crippled by technical problems.  But that didn’t smother CEO Musk’s enthusiasm.