Faraday Future, a startup electric car company, unveiled its first vehicle FFZERO1, a hyper electric concept car, on January 4 during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
In the meanwhile, LeTV announced strategic cooperation with FF, with chairman and founder Jia Yueting as a key investor. They will work together in the fields of automotive technology, the Internet, cloud computing and entertainment for the next generation smart vehicles.
FF senior vice president Nick Sampson and LeTV Super Electric Ecosystem (SEE) co-founder Ding Lei appeared at the news conference at FF stand. Sampson believes FF has a dream team, a determination to evolve, a strong ally and a fast turnaround speed, which are essential for a successful operation. Although Ding claimed there is no financial connection between the two companies, Chinese reporters covering the CES show view FFZERO1 as LeTV SEE’s first concept car.
According to Sampson, the 18-month old company has 550 experienced professionals from energy, aerospace, design and automotive industries. On December 10, FF announced its plan to invest $1 billion to build a factory in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The project promises to create 4,500 jobs in the future. In return, the Nevada state government promised FF a $335 million tax incentive.
Making an eye-catching concept car is of course not a big deal for any automaker. Mass producing cars is the real challenge. Sampson told Chinese reporters, however, that the concept is only a side project accomplished by his team during the past 18 months. A mass-production prototype is almost ready.
Ding Lei, former top executive at SAIC-GM, said he wants to redefine the automobile industry with innovation. Dressed casually with a jacket and T-shirt, Ding appears to have become more practical since joining LeTV. He talked more about user experience, technology and the future.
With Ding Lei on board, Jia Yueting is moving one step closer to his dream of making cars. However, LeTV’s success in the Internet business does not guarantee a success in automobile manufacturing because of the simple reason that traditional automakers are still very strong and creative. Even with the concept car, LeTV still has a long way to go to be successful. The next key step for LeTV will be the first concept SEE super car scheduled for the 2016 Beijing International Auto Show.
We are in a rapidly changing world. No one knows who will be the future winner. New and old economy powers are intertwined and cautiously reliant on each other. This is a great time for new forces like LeTV as the Internet lends room for them to grow in unfamiliar territories. Kevin Kelly has said no organization should enjoy success for too long. Once reaching the top, it should retreat and aim at a new height. This usually means enormous investment and sacrifice for a mature company. Kelly points out that creating a new organization is easier than changing an established one. If true, the young LeTV SEE might actually have a chance to overthrow traditional automakers one day and succeed in the automobile business.
(Rewritten by Kevin Wang based on author’s article published on autohome.com)