SF Motors Might Be The Real Deal In A Sea Of EV Startups

SF Motors

JAN 11 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 20

Sokon SF Motors

Inside SF Motors U.S. in Santa Clara, CA (Image Credit: SF Motors)

SF Motors has taken the time to quietly and methodically get all of its ducks in a row to assure success as a viable EV startup.

Only SF Motors and Rivian Automotive seem to be working somewhat secretly, getting all major details in place (including financing), and not bringing products or announcements forward until they can stand behind their claims. We’ve seen many an EV startup put a car up on a stage without having a factory, money, consistent employees, etc., and failure seems almost imminent.

SF Motors

SF Motors recently acquired the fully functional AM General/Hummer plant in Indiana.

Some may doubt startups like SF and Rivian since the “automakers” have no products to show. However, this may just be the “right” way to go about the process. There’s definitely no shortage of “wrong ways.”

SF already has a corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, California; a research facility near the University of Michigan and not far from the Motor City; a battery company led by ex-Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard; and now, a fully functional automotive factory in Indiana.

The Chinese EV startup hopes to publicize its U.S. plans this coming spring, and the prospects are looking increasingly promising. Automotive News reported:

“SF Motors, which employs many former LeEco and Faraday Future workers, said it has learned from its competitors’ mistakes, shying away from over-the-top press events until it has the product and infrastructure to back up its announcements, an SF Motors spokeswoman said.

But with the October acquisition of Inevit, a battery and electric powertrain startup founded by Tesla Inc. co-founder Martin Eberhard, and the completed acquisition of the former AM General plant in Mishawaka, Ind., SF Motors has been attracting more attention and could pose as a legitimate competitor in the U.S. EV market.”

Sokon, the automaker’s parent company, came to market quickly in China and was able to produce and sell 380,000 cars in the country in 2016. It had only just joined the Shanghai stock exchange the previous year. In the U.S., SF is not relying on billionaire contributions, but rather, the company is banking on the fact that there is already success and support in China. Micheal Dunne, President of Hong Kong’s Dunne Automotive, told Automotive News:

SF Motors

SF Motors also has an R&D facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Image Credit: SF Motors)

“It’s a company of highly capable, globally minded people who know how to quickly get things done in terms of securing technology. They’re moving very fast, with a worldly view.

New Chinese EV makers are flying everywhere. But they have an idea with smart people behind it, local government support, access to technology in Michigan and California. They’re putting the pieces together and moving fast.”

SF’s acquisition of battery startup, Inevit, is a huge step forward. Just the fact that Martin Eberhard is involved is newsworthy.  Icebreaker Ventures managing director, Mark Platshon, shared in an email to Automotive News:

“Martin is a visionary about battery pack technology, motor technology, power electronics and electric drivetrains. I think he has some good ideas on how to make EVs more manufacturable and cost-effective.”

At the time of this writing, SF Motors has about 150 employees, although former LeEco and Faraday Future workers are flocking to the startup. The deal for the Indiana manufacturing facility just closed this month, so hopefully, we will begin to secure more information in the near future.

Keep the conversation going in our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: General

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20 Comments on "SF Motors Might Be The Real Deal In A Sea Of EV Startups"

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“employs many former LeEco and Faraday Future workers”

No place to go but up for those guys

lol at least they’ll have a future hahah pun master Mark :p

Faraday at least 😉

I’ll bet they planning on having a production vehicle in “3-5 years from now..”

I worked at the a m general plant that sf bought. We were told 12-18 months but some bosses say there will be a pilot team before that 12 months

Cool! The more the merrier! Let the consumers pick the winners.

Well, I pick no. I will not buy any Chinese car, even if that is all there is for sale new. In that case I will drive used for the rest of my life.

While it’s true that many Chinese-market vehicles are substandard, they will be held to the same standards as American vehicles when sold in our market.

Your comment reminds me of the comments I heard in the 70s regarding those cheap, piece-of-s**t Japanese vehicles coming over. Now look where we are.

Exactly!! And NOW look where we are!! Buying foreign cars helps the US how again??! I’m sure the Chinese will eventually have superb quality. It’s not about that. When you buy a Chinese made anything, part of the profit goes straight to the Chinese government. When you buy a Chinese made thing from a Chinese company, lots more of the profit goes to the Chinese government and the Chinese economy. Tell me again why I would want to boost the Chinese government and the Chinese economy to make them even stronger? I don’t have much choice in all the other things I buy these days as nearly every American, European and Japanese company has sold it’s soul and their countries out and everything comes from China. Ain’t it great?! All the world’s manufacturing in one country. What could possibly be wrong with that? I do still have a choice in cars though and I will stick to it as long as I can and then buy used from then on when all cars are made in China. You’re right, I boycotted Japanese and Taiwanese goods when they started to invade our markets with illegal dumping practices that our government turned… Read more »

Would you buy a Tesla?
If so, then you are buying a mostly Chinese made car.
Only the body panels and a few parts that are so cheap they can even be made in the USA are used to build a Tesla Model S/X/3. They are assembled in the USA from mostly Foxconn China parts.
If you have ever been inside the Fremont factory, you would know this by seeing all of the Made In China crates that populate the factory floor.

Rivian is indicating some actual plans on their website: first a pickup, then an SUV:
https://www.rivian.com/vehicles/

Glad to see InsideEVs give some coverage to these “stealth startups”. Sure, they may not succeed; but then, maybe they will! We can always hope, right? It’s not like SF Motors and Rivian Automotive are out there making ridiculous over the top promises and wild claims, like Faraday Future did.

I’m also glad to know that Martin Eberhard is actively involved in a new venture. His ouster from Tesla Motors, after being one of its real founders, was quite bitter and acrimonious.

Speaking of Rivian Automotive, I posted a roundup of links to news articles about that company, just yesterday over on the InsideEVs Forum site:

http://www.insideevsforum.com/community/index.php?threads/rivian-automotive.443/

The buzz is approaching dotcom levels… 🙂

they are telling mishawaka employees 18 months or less launch

A 2nd hand factory in the hand is worth 10 renderings in the bush.

Good news for everyone.
Competition is good.

Unfortunately producing in US and EU is to expensive for a mass market product until ai has taken over all production. But a machine making a machine is soon realized and that will be the game changer.

I wish them the best of luck, but what do I always say…?

Until it’s available in Pennsylvania, it’s vaporware to me.

Hopefully the good workers that was laid of from the am general building will go back soon. There will be a preferential hire to sf. So every one will not get to go back I heard, only the ones that actually showed up for work and was really good will be first, glad I went to work everyday. Call us back soooooooon please

I don’t understand how this works – the factory has been shut down for years, right? Won’t a lot of people have moved away for other jobs?

It’s ironic to see so much criticism of fluffy startups with no solidity and big promises, considering that this has been Teslas M.O. all along, and in fact still is!

Promising the world at a time when it’s very unlikely you can deliver is Musk’s strategy, and he’s publicly admitted as much multiple times. If you’ve read any of the biographies you’ll find him telling his biographers he estimated the probability of Tesla succeeding at 5%. Obviously that wasn’t what he told investors and customers at the time…

Right now I certainly think the probability for Tesla success is considerably higher. I’d put it, more or less blindly, at about 50%.

But if this way of launching a car company is wrong, you know who to thank for it.