Seres, the startup electric carmaker formerly known as SF Motors, is shelving plans to bring a new electric car to market in the U.S.
The electric-car company was founded in 2017 when the Chinese industrial company Sokon bought the battery-technology company founded by former Tesla CEO and founder Martin Eberhard.
At the Shanghai auto show in April, the company introduced its first car, an electric SUV for the Chinese market called the SF5. That's when the company, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley, also announced its name change to Seres.
Sales of those models in China have also been suspended, according to a recording of an internal meeting by Co-CEO James Taylor, reported by The Verge last week.
SF Motors SF5 and SF7
The SF5 was to be built at a factory in Chonqing, China. SF Motors—now Seres—also purchased the former AM General Hummer factory in South Bend, Indiana, in 2017, with plans to produce the car there for the U.S. market. Now those plans are on hold, and the factory sits idle.
Along with suspending sales in China and putting its U.S. plans on hold, Taylor also announced that the company would lay off 90 workers at its Santa Clara headquarters in sales, marketing, IT, HR, legal, operations, and design. The moves are designed to ensure the company's "short-term survival," and "long-term success," Taylor said in the recording.
Taylor cited a lagging car market in China and an unpredictable trade environment with the U.S. as factors in the layoffs and delays.
The electric SF5 was expected to have a 90-kilowatt-hour battery and motors producing 684 horsepower and 767 pound-feet of torque. The plug-in hybrid had a 33-kwh battery, which should have produced impressive range for a plug-in hybrid.
In Shanghai, the company also showed a larger SUV called the SF7, along with the "skateboard" architecture underpinning both models.