Statistically, the odds aren’t great for FF, but it isn’t a small British sports-car company trying to get off the ground, it’s something much more far-sighted. FF has a chance because, oddly, people don’t seem to trust traditional car companies to do electric cars. BMW’s i cars are utterly brilliant, but sales are slow. The Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf are good, too. They’re not shifting either. Tesla? Some 400,000 advance orders for the Model 3.
What is shifting is the sphere of influence. It’s not Detroit that’s shaping America’s motoring future, but LA. “Part of the reason we chose to set up here”, Sampson says, “was not only does the West Coast have the tech, people and mindsets, but from a wider perspective there’s a brand imaging that it gives us.” He continues, “Plus it’s a lot easier being the fast follower than the leader. Tesla weren’t the first, but they were the one that broke the mould.”
For Faraday the opportunity is now – strike while the iron is hot. Pete Savagian, VP of propulsion engineering chips in: “To begin a car company fast is expensive and daunting, but it’s easier than doing it slowly – you’d be vulnerable for a much longer time.” Savagian is another auto industry heavy-hitter, working at GM for two decades, including on the original EV1.