Struggling electric car startup Faraday Future has hired former BMW executive Ulrich Kranz for the new role of Chief Technology Officer.
Kranz, 59, is a BMW veteran and has led the German automaker’s i sub-brand for electric mobility since 2008.
He said he was motivated to join Faraday Future because of the people working there, plus the innovativeness of the company’s planned products and future-centric outlook.
“I wanted to be at a company that is really, 100 percent focused on the future, and not just introducing another electric vehicle,” Kranz said in a statement. “What I saw here is the vision of [Jia Yueting], to create a complete ecosystem.”
Yueting is the founder of Chinese tech giant LeEco which is the main backer of Faraday Future. Yueting last November admitted to a cash crunch at LeEco, which he blamed on too rapid expansion, and earlier this month a Shanghai court froze $183 million of his assets due to unpaid loans.
The funding troubles have led to Faraday Future cutting back on staff at its headquarters in California. The company was also reported in May to be looking to raise as much as $1 billion, and just this month it stopped all work on its planned vehicle plant in Nevada. The company will instead aim to build its first model, the 1,050-horsepower FF 91, at a new location that will allow it to get the vehicle to market faster.
Kranz, who is known to be able to handle risks, said his short-term goal at Faraday Future is to get the FF 91 into production. In the longer term, Kranz will look to implement Faraday Future’s vision of changing the automotive landscape to one that’s fully electric and fully connected.
Faraday Future is also looking to change the car ownership model. As fully self-driving cars become a reality, there’s a good chance many people will give up the car and choose ride services instead.
“The younger generation, which is focused on the environment, might not even buy a car, but use one by the minute or the hour,” Kranz explained.
Faraday Future is currently taking $5,000 (refundable) deposits for the FF 91 whose final price is yet to be confirmed. The company remains hopeful of starting production in 2018.