Faraday Future avoids failure with a $1 billion investment

Faraday Future FF91 Laguna

The end of the year isn’t the end of the line for one electric vehicle startup. Problem-plagued Faraday Future has managed to avoid its demise for the time being thanks to a $1 billion cash influx. According to new reports, the controversial Chinese investor, Jia Yueting, told company employees at a December 13 meeting about the new funding round. It remains unclear where this money is coming from, however, and what the terms of such an investment really are.

Faraday Future, the would-be Tesla competitor, has had a number of problems, particularly related to its financials and production. Many of these issues appear to be related to Jia himself, who also announced on December 13 that he will step in as chief executive (a role no one has filled in four years). As CEO, Jia is slated to reorganize the structure of the firm to “ensure the implementation of corporate strategies,” per a report from Securities Daily.

Leadership aside, Faraday Future also appears to be having trouble meeting its timeline for producing cars (to be fair, Tesla suffers from a similar problem). During a December visit to the company’s factory, a Chinese journalist claimed to see only a security engineer on site, and no production equipment at all. As such, creating a mass-produced car by the end of 2018 appears to be something of a stretch. If you’re just catching up on the company, here’s everything you need to know about Faraday Future.

Then there’s the issue of Jia himself. The investor founded LeEco, the Chinese conglomerate with similar ambitions that has fallen upon similar difficult times. As a result, Jia appears to be very heavily in debt — so much so that China’s Securities Regulatory Commission has ordered him to return home. A letter explaining the Commission’s order notes that Leshi (a subsidiary of LeEco) has failed to repay debts and “has severely hurt the interest of the listed company and investors and has had an extremely adverse social impact.”

All that aside, Faraday Future seems to be in the clear for the time being. The $1 billion is already being used to pay debts, which currently stand at over $100 million. We’ll have to see if the company is able to deliver upon its promises come 2018.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Insect drones and kinetic sculpture robots

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Coffee cups and plot holes: Game of Thrones got lazy as it raced to the finish

In its final seasons, Game of Thrones was afflicted by pacing issues, nonsensical character developments, and a few out-of-place beverage containers. It's a surprisingly lazy ending to a show that once prided itself on its thoughtfulness.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Game of Thrones finale, Veep, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Game of Thrones, Veep, Fleabag, and Easy all come to their ends.
Movies & TV

Dorne, Bran, and more: The loose ends we’d like to see Game of Thrones tie up

There's only one episode left in Game of Thrones, and given how many characters and plots the show has let taper off, it's unlikely we'll get closure for all of them. Here are the loose ends we'd love to see tied up.
Computing

Windows on a Chromebook is a dead dream, but something better could replace it

Recent code updates posted in Chromium Gerrit indicate that Google has canceled Project Campfire, ending its plans to let Chromebooks dual boot Windows and Chrome OS. Is hope all but lost on this popular feature?
Cars

Semi-autonomous and always available: A peek into the near future of car rental

Soon we will see connected rental fleets with a dedicated lane at airports for self-driving cars, where drivers control the car to the airport, and then the empty car drives itself to the rental lot.
Product Review

Want an electric car that doesn't look like an electric car? Meet Audi's E-Tron

The 2019 Audi E-Tron is the German automaker’s first series-production electric car. Rather than make a bold statement with its first electric vehicle, Audi chose to make the E-Tron as much like its other cars as possible.
Cars

Walmart slashes prices on electric hybrid bicycles for National Bike Month

Electric bikes can be economical, convenient, and fun. Heading into summer, Walmart slashed the prices for two pedal-assist Hyper E-ride Mountain and City Electric Hybrid Bikes by 40%. We found a variety of e-rides for under $1,000.
Cars

GM thinks up new electronic brain for its cars, allowing over-the-air updates

General Motors is launching a new electrical architecture to support more tech features in its cars. The system debuts on the 2020 Cadillac CT5, and will roll out to most other GM models by 2023.
Cars

Ford aluminum truck beds prove haters wrong, are cheaper to repair than steel

Repair costs were a major concern for truck buyers when Ford launched its aluminum F-150. But insurance data indicates that, if anything, the F-150 may be cheaper to repair than traditional steel trucks.
Cars

Mercedes-Benz safety-car concept monitors the road ahead and your kids

The Mercedes-Benz Experimental Safety Vehicle 2019 was designed for a world where humans and machines share driving duties. It can use lights to communicate with other road users and even monitor an infant's vital signs.
Cars

GM hits reverse with Maven carsharing as it closes service in eight cities

GM-owned Maven will close its carsharing service in 8 of the 17 North American cities where it currently operates. Competing with the likes of Zipcar and Car2Go, the app-based service offers car rental by the hour or day.
Cars

Crisp and connected, the Volkswagen Golf will get a digital reboot in 2020

Volkswagen is putting the final touches on the eighth-generation Golf. The hatchback will still be recognizable as a member of the Golf family, but it will receive a crisper design inside and out.
Cars

With Tesla bleeding money, Elon Musk initiates hardcore spending review

After posting a sizable $700 million loss in the first quarter of 2019, Tesla announced it will review every expense, no matter the size, to keep spending in check. Company CEO Elon Musk will personally approve every 10th expense page.