Former BMW designer Richard Kim, credited as lead exterior designer of the i3, i8 and i8 Spyder, has been confirmed as being “in charge of design” as one of four leaders at California electric vehicle and mobility services start-up EVelozcity.
Founded in December 2017, Los Angeles-based EVelozcity sees three main needs which need to be served in the urban environment – commuting, ride-sharing and package delivery – and is working on a modular skateboard architecture which will support three initial models with “interchangeable” cabins: a personal car, a car for ride-hailing services, and a ‘last-mile’ delivery vehicle. It says that it is aiming to break away from the traditional compartmentalised three-box design concept, thanks to this architecture afforded by an electric powertrain.
The company aims to launch its first vehicle in 2021, aided by a strategy of outsourcing its production to manufacturing partners, and sees itself as being “a boutique Californian brand that will provide options to individuals who do not want to drive cars from manufacturers associated with gasoline vehicles” (and, presumably, diesels).
The three founding executives all have electric vehicle pedigree: Kim had been working as VP of design at Faraday Future, where he was also one of the founding members, and at EVelozcity, he joins “in charge” Stefan Krause and Ulrich Kranz, “in charge of technology”, who were respectively – albeit briefly – the CFO and CTO at Faraday (which launched a lawsuit against EVelozcity earlier this year, alleging the theft of intellectual property and ‘poaching’ of staff).
Prior to his short-lived stint at Faraday, Krause was formerly a BMW global CFO and board member, a CEO of Rolls-Royce, and was involved in the relaunch of the Mini brand; and Kranz worked for BMW for over 30 years in research and development, on models including the Z3, X5, Mini, i3, i8 and other ‘project i’ programmes. Ex-Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann, earlier responsible for electric propulsion at Volkswagen, has now joined the team as the fourth executive, “in charge of mobility”, to oversee connected car experience and mobility concepts as well as tasks including branding, marketing, and developing solutions such as blockchain strategy.
Richard Kim’s CV also includes his roles as design manager for the VW Audi Group studio in California, where he worked on programmes for Porsche and Audi, and he has also worked at the VW Audi design centre in Barcelona, for Audi in Ingolstadt, at Nissan Infiniti in London, and at the GM Cadillac advanced design studio in Hollywood. His experience at Faraday, however, will surely be particularly relevant to EVelozcity in terms of operating in the start-up environment.