Troubled electric car startup Faraday Future Inc. has hired a new CEO, launched a search for a chairman and announced plans for a trust to repay the outstanding debt of founder Jia Yueting.
Carson Breitfeld succeeds Jia, who will remain at Faraday in the newly created position of chief product & user officer, as CEO. No timetable was provided about the debt-repayment plan.
Breitfeld (pictured) spent 20 years at BMW AG and led the development of the company’s i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, He joined China’s Byton Ltd. EV startup as CEO in April 2018. Byton, which has hired several high-ranking industry veterans this year, aims to launch the all-electric M-Byte SUV/crossover next year.
Xia Haijun had been appointed to succeed Jia as chairman, after Hong Kong-based Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd. agreed to invest $2 billion in Faraday last summer. That deal collapsed a few months later due to disagreements between Jia and Evergrande’s billionaire backer Hui Ka Yan.
Faraday originally hoped to launch its first EV, the 1,050-hp FF91 crossover vehicle, in 2017. But financial strains forced the company to delay the car’s debut, shrink its product lineup plan from seven models to two and cancel plans for a $1 billion assembly plant in Nevada.
In May, Faraday said it had secured a $225 million bridge loan to enable it to complete development of the FF91 and the more affordable FF81 crossover. Some of the funds also were earmarked to pay past-due invoices from about 60% of the carmaker’s vendors.