A group of Faraday Future employees seek management change, Toyota will build EV batteries in America, Lucid Motors looks to raise more funding. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Some Faraday Future Employees Want Executive Chairperson Removed
The bad news just keeps coming for EV startup Faraday Future. Reuters reports that a significant number of employees at the company want Executive Chairperson Susan Swenson out of the company.
Representatives for a group of about 140 employees alleged in the letter dated Aug. 23 that Swenson had organized attempts to “push the company into bankruptcy and restructuring”.
Swenson did not respond to requests for comment, while Faraday Future declined to comment.
The group also asked the board to make public the findings from an ongoing investigation of multiple whistleblower letters concerning four directors – Sue Swenson, Jordan Vogel, Scott Vogel and Brian Krolicki. The directors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
This moment of corporate unease is just the latest in a serious of troubles befalling EV startup Faraday Future. From financial struggles to being the subject of an SEC investigation, the brief history of Faraday Future is rather tumultuous. The allegations against Swenson are quite serious and could lead to stakeholders cutting ties with Faraday Future should the allegations be founded.
Toyota Plans To Build EV Batteries In America
Toyota may be late to the EV game, but it’s coming in swinging around some big capital. Automotive News reports that the Japanese automaker is expanding investment into its planned North Carolina-based battery plant to the tune of $2.5 billion.
“We started with four hybrid-electric vehicle lines. We talked about going with two more hybrid-electric vehicle lines, but we are pivoting now and going to add two battery electric [battery] lines,” Norm Bafunno, senior vice president for unit manufacturing and engineering with Toyota Motor North America, told Automotive News last week.
Though Bafunno didn’t say so directly, he admitted that the added investment was at least in part a response to passage this month of the Inflation Reduction Act, which seeks to encourage automakers to invest in battery manufacturing and materials sourcing in the U.S.
Toyota “likes to build the product where it is sold, and so we’re starting to align our footprint for electrification within this region,” he said. “It’s going to take time, and we still have a lot of work ahead.”
The plant itself is expected to open in 2025, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Toyota EVs assembled in North America by mid-decade. After all, stipulations for the full $7,500 tax credit state that an EV must be made in North America and eventually have batteries made in North America with materials sourced from U.S. trading partners. Logically, this also means that Toyota will likely establish the necessary supply chain to qualify for tax credits under incoming battery sourcing requirements. It’s worth reading our own Mercedes Streeter’s excellent article on the IRA’s requirements to get a better picture of how the EV landscape may change over the coming years.
Customer Shot By Hyundai Dealership Employee
In a shocking turn of events, Automotive News reports that a Hyundai dealership employee in Ohio shot a customer.
Police said the customer was found with a gunshot wound to the upper leg in the parking lot of Hyundai of Bedford in Ohio, with witnesses saying a service employee shot him after the two had a dispute.
The customer was taken to a Cleveland hospital following lifesaving measures from responding officers. His condition was unknown. Police told Fox 8 they didn’t believe the customer was armed.
Andrew Mach was charged with felonious assault and was being held in jail in the neighboring town of Solon, Ohio, Cleveland 19 reported. The father of the customer has asked for a restraining order.
The layers of failure that led to this event are appalling. From the dealership allowing an employee to carry a firearm on the premises to the actions of the employee, nothing that happened here is defensible in any way.
Lucid Motors Seeks To Raise An Additional $8 Billion In Funding
The current economic environment is tough on everyone, so it’s not surprising to see EV startups looking to increase working capital. Case in point, Reuters reports that Lucid Motors has filed for a new offering of up to $8 billion.
The company, which has a market capitalization of about $27 billion, halved its production forecast for electric vehicles earlier this month, blaming supply chain and logistics challenges.
Lucid filed for a mixed shelf offering, under which it may sell different types of securities in one or more separate offerings with the size, price and terms to be determined at the time of sale.
California-based Lucid, which went public via a shell company in 2021, had secured the $4.4 billion it needed until the end of 2022 but would not wait until then to raise more cash, Chief Executive Peter Rawlinson told Reuters last year.
It’s no secret that Lucid Motors has been struggling to ramp up production in the current climate of supply chain shortages, and raising more funds through an offering seems like a fairly sensible way of staying liquid. Should Lucid Motors be able to raise the full $8 billion, the injection of funds could keep things moving as the EV startup weathers the economic storm.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Wednesday, everyone. We’ve made it to the middle of the week. To celebrate, let’s play a fun little fantasy garage game. Assuming an unlimited budget, pick one car that’s front-wheel-drive, one that’s rear-wheel-drive, and one that sends torque to all four tires.
Lead photo credit: Faraday Future