In the midst of the latest round of financial turmoil at the company, Faraday Future has lost a key executive, according to a report in the Verge.
Peter Savagian was senior vice president at Faraday Future. And he was the chief engineer of General Motors' EV1, arguably the first mass-produced modern electric car.
One anonymous source inside Faraday Future told the Verge, "He was the guy" (emphasis original) at Faraday Future. Another called him "the backbone of the company."
Savagian appeared in a video last month leading company employees in showing off Faraday's first product, the FF91 electric luxury sedan when the first prototype rolled off its new assembly line in California.
Shortly after that event, the company started laying off workers earlier this month and cut the pay of remaining workers by 20 percent after its latest financing deal fell on hard times.
Artist’s impression of Faraday Future’s proposed plant in Hanford, California
The company has a history of financial troubles, as one investor after another has backed out.
Most recently, the company received a commitment of $2 billion in June from Hong Kong conglomerate Evergrande Health, with an $800 million bundle of cash up front. Faraday ran through the first $800 quickly by setting up a production line and building its first prototypes, and Evergrande balked at providing promised followup funding.
Faraday filed an arbitration case against Evergrande in early October when it announced the layoffs. Last Friday, a Hong Kong arbitrator found in favor of Faraday Future, ruling that the company can seek funding from other investors, a move which Evergrande had worked to prevent.
The company isn't out of the woods, but the arbitration ruling gives a glimmer of light in the tunnel.
Three other former members of GM's EV1 team reportedly still work at the company.
If it makes it to production, the FF91 is expected to be a $300,000 electric competitor to ultra-luxury sedans such as the Rolls Royce Phantom. A less expensive followup model, the FF81 is also on the drawing boards.
Update: The day after this report was published, Faraday Future co-founder Nick Sampson also left the company. In his public letter of resignation, Sampson said the company is effectively insolvent:
"The company is effectively insolvent in both its financial and personnel assets, it will at best will [sic] limp along for the foreseeable future. I feel that my role in Faraday Future is no long [sic] a path that I can follow, so I will leave the company, effective immediately.”
The letter also revealed that the company has furloughed all employees who started after May 1 at its factory in Hanford, California, and ceased many operations there.