Faraday Future Expands Global Hiring After Business Combination

Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (“FF”) (NASDAQ: FFIE), a California-based global shared intelligent mobility ecosystem company, today announced plans to increase its employee headcount significantly over the next 12 months following the Business combination closing in July of this year. New hiring will help support the launch of its ultimate intelligent techluxury all electric flagship vehicle FF 91 in 2022.

“We are looking forward to adding a diverse group of innovative, creative and driven people to our rapidly growing team,” said Global CEO of Faraday Future Carsten Breitfeld. “We now have the capability to significantly grow our company with employees passionate about transforming the auto industry and the future of mobility. For the right candidates, an immense amount of opportunity abounds. I welcome talented and passionate applicants who are motivated to help move the company forward together along with the entire FF team.”

Hiring efforts will focus on filling positions in the areas of manufacturing, engineering, supply chain, design, marketing, brand, sales and other areas, along with the potential of higher-level executive positions. These positions are located out of the company’s three California locations including at FF’s headquarters in Los Angeles, tech-focused offices in Silicon Valley, and the FF 91 manufacturing facility in Hanford. FF will soon announce several key operational-focused executives who are expected to join FF soon. FF is also hiring key-positions for its China operations as it gears up to deliver FF vehicles in that market.


Faraday Future’s Ultimate Intelligent Techluxury FF 91 Validates Production Timeline

Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (“FF”) (NASDAQ: FFIE), a California-based global shared intelligent mobility ecosystem company, today announced that it recently completed a 2,270-mile testing and evaluation journey following the historic Route 66, a highway that crosses numerous U.S. states as it winds its way from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California.

Real world vehicle testing and evaluation, which followed FF’s public listing on Nasdaq last month in NYC, put the ultimate intelligent techluxury FF 91 through multiple tests in various conditions including extreme heat through the desert and on multiple road surfaces including various elevations. The completion of this testing and evaluation of the many vehicle systems, including battery and propulsion components during the 2,270-mile journey further validates FF 91 production timeline.

“This testing journey along historic Route 66 allowed us to put FF 91 through many diverse environments and conditions found only in the central and southwest portions of the U.S. and allowed us to capture real world data on FF 91,” said FF Global CEO Dr. Carsten Breitfeld. “FF’s overall testing and validation strategy will ensure best-in-market performance, safety and user confidence, and to make sure the battery, electric propulsion, chassis, suspension and other vehicle systems perform under these harsh conditions, while also ensuring a smooth and comfortable and connected experience with the driver and passengers in the FF 91.”

The long-distance road test that FF conducted is a great opportunity to evaluate FF’s unique third internet living space concept in real usage scenarios before it begins production next year. Dr. Breitfeld, an engineer by trade, had an integral part of the Route 66 testing and drove much of the trip, he also used the rear intelligent internet system and in-car video conference system from the rear-seat to participate in daily FF meetings along the way.

FF 91 is equipped with interior cameras and microphones that support videoconferencing features. When the Rear Seat Display (RSD) is turned on, users can access their contacts through conferencing applications to keep connected with friends, family, or business associates while on the road. The applications will run natively on the in-vehicle computer and be mirrored to the users’ mobile devices for remote control.

During vehicle testing, engineers logged volumes of data on the vehicle’s chassis, thermal, electric propulsion performance, and all vehicle systems. They also optimized software controls performance and calibrations in real world conditions. This critical work is providing some of the final levels of development on FF 91’s systems, as FF advances to the final stages of its program and a timely launch. In the coming months, FF will build additional pre-production FF 91 vehicles for further testing, vehicle development, improvements, and final readiness for launch in 2022.

The FF 91 Futurist Alliance Edition and FF 91 Futurist models represent the next generation of intelligent internet electric vehicle (EV) products. They are high-performance EVs, all-ability cars, and ultimate robotic vehicles, allowing users to experience the third internet living space. The models also encompass extreme technology, an ultimate user experience and a complete ecosystem.

Both models have an industry-leading 1050 horsepower, a 130kWh battery pack with immersive liquid cooling technology and 0-60 mph performance in 2.4 seconds. In addition, both employ tri-motor torque vectoring and rear wheels independently driven and controlled by dual rear motors. Both models are also equipped with the industry‘s only super AP for internet connection at “light speed”, video streaming on the passenger information display, a rear intelligent internet system, an in-car video conferencing system, intelligent seamless entry, FFID face recognition, multi-touch eyes-free control, and zero gravity rear seats with the industry’s largest seating angle of 150 degrees.



There’s a lot of good wine out there, but laying claim to a perfect wine is no easy feat. One Central Valley winemaker can do just that with a resounding performance at the Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition.

Madera-based Ficklin Vineyards and winemaker Peter Ficklin took Best of Class and Double Gold awards for the Old Vine Tinta Port. It’s Aged 10 Years Tawny Port received Gold and Aged 15 Years Tawny Port won Silver. “A 100-point wine is a benchmark wine,” says Alexander Peartree, of the Robb Report—a luxury lifestyle magazine. “It represents the pinnacle of the category…the reviewer looks for the intensity of flavor, balance, structure, and longevity.”

A total of 2,900 entries from all over the world were judged in the annual competition. “We are honored to have our Old Vine Tinta Port recognized as a perfect wine by the judges in Sunset’s International Competition, and so proud to be the only wine this year to receive that designation among so many esteemed wines”, said President and Winemaker Peter Ficklin. “Ficklin Vineyards was founded with a commitment to quality and a desire to produce the highest quality Port in the United States.”

Madera’s CRU Winery also took three Gold awards for its 2020 Unoaked Chardonnay, Sarmento Vineyard Pinot Noir and Vineyard Montage, and Silver for its SLH Pinot Noir and Arroyo Seco Chardonnay. Sanger-based Gibson Wine Co. also made a strong showing in the competition, bringing in nearly a dozen medals including Double Gold for its Cream Sherry and Gold for its Port.

Madera’s Idle Hour Winery & Kitchen won Silver for its Late Harvest Viognier. O’Neill Vintners & Distillers in Parlier took a whopping 27 Gold and Silver awards for its entries. Some of the Gold winners include its Charles Woodson’s Intercept Red Blend, Game Box Pinot Grigio and Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc. Ricchiuti Family Farms in Clovis took Silver with its My Italian Cousin – Eugenio. Madera’s San Joaquin Wine Co. earned Silver for its Moody Press Cellars Rose. Toca Madera Winery’s Tempranillo Reserve earned Gold.


Inside the making of ABC’s epic new surfing competition with Kelly Slater

Normally, Lemoore, Calif., might seem a strange place to set a surfing competition. After all, the Kings County burg is 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean. But as it turns out, “normal” is not “The Ultimate Surfer’s” style.

ABC’s new reality competition grew out of a meeting of the minds in early 2019 between world-famous professional surfer Kelly Slater, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan, Pilgrim Media Group CEO and Chair Craig Piligian and UFC President Dana White at Surf Ranch, Slater’s artificial-wave oasis in the Central Valley. Production began in early 2020, only to be shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. When shooting resumed last summer, it was in a COVID-19 “bubble” at the ranch. Now the series’ long-awaited debut has arrived, with a two-night premiere beginning Monday.

Surfer and Times photographer Allen J. Schaben captured exclusive images of the making of “The Ultimate Surfer” last March, before the shutdown, and returned to the ranch earlier this summer to photograph the action at the WSL’s Jeep Surf Ranch Pro, where athletes from around the globe showed off what the ranch can do.


Del Taco Strengthens Presence in Central California With New Multi-Unit Franchise Deal

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ: TACO), the nation’s second largest Mexican quick service restaurant*, announced today a new franchising partnership with Bangars Management, led by Prabh Singh and Mandeep Bangar that will add five new restaurants to the Fresno, Calif market. “We’ve been in the restaurant and retail industry for decades and have seen great success owning and operating scalable QSR restaurants and various convenience stores, particularly in the Central Valley. After months of research, we’ve found that Del Taco is a perfect partner to diversify our portfolio, which is something we’ve wanted to do for quite some time,” says Singh, Vice President of Bangars Management. “Del Taco’s emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients served in a quick and convenient format fits with our standards and ideals and we are thrilled to kick off this partnership.”

Singh and Bangar have more than 35 years of experience in the industry, having worked their way up through the family business ranks to ultimately lead the company which specializes in restaurant foodservice, fuel/convenience and real estate and property development. By partnering with Del Taco on an initial development agreement for five locations, the franchise duo will be the first to bring the brand’s new Fresh Flex look to the Fresno area. “Bangars Management has a proven history of success with owning and operating multiple quick service concepts and leading those concepts to become the top in their category,” said Jeff Little, SVP of Development. “They value their people, love what our fresh quality brand is all about and have a dedication to customer service just as we do at Del Taco, making us the perfect fit for their growing company. We’re proud to have partnered with them and are looking forward to seeing them expand the Del Taco footprint within the Central Valley.”

Del Taco’s unique QSR+ positioning within the Mexican quick-service segment presents great growth potential for experienced multi-unit operators and private equity firms looking to diversify portfolios. With development areas open across the U.S., Del Taco is continuing to seek multi-unit operators who are looking for the opportunity to claim a territory and grow alongside the company.


Grape harvesting underway in Central California

Grape harvesting machines light up the night during this time of the year. They slowly make their way through vineyards to shake off these Pinot Grigio grapes. The nighttime harvest works better for keeping the machinery running smoothly. “You’re basically smashing the grapes off of there,” says Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen. “There’s sugar everywhere and so during the daytime, you’re going to have that sugar crystalizing to the point where it’s going to gum up the machinery and everything else. Secondarily, you don’t want to start the fermentation process until you get to the winery.” Jacobsen is relieved to get his wine grapes off the vine.

Smoke from wildfires in the area wasn’t enough to cause any concerns with this year’s crop. The hottest July on record though was tough on area produce. “Specifically, what we saw with grapes was a delay in maturing, simply because plants are a lot like humans,” Jacobsen said. “They slow down when it gets over that 102 mark and we saw a lot of days that were well above that.” Pinot Grigio, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Merlot grapes are among the popular varieties that are grown here and enjoyed all over the world. “When you talk California wine, the Valley is the majority of where it’s grown,” Jacobsen said. “Approximately 70% of California’s wine is coming from the San Joaquin Valley.” When you look at Fresno County grapes, you’ll find roughly half of the crop goes into making raisins. The other half is split between wine grapes and table grapes.


Ace Hardware Announces Large Distribution Center in Central California

Retailer-owned hardware cooperative Ace Hardware Corp., Oak Brook, IL, announced it plans to build a gigantic distribution center in Visalia, California. The new retail support center will occupy more than 1-million-square feet and bring more than 400 jobs to the area. The new facility will augment the company’s Rocklin, California — in the greater Sacramento area — and Prescott Valley, Arizona distribution centers and will be centrally located in California, between Sacramento and Los Angeles.

The new Visalia distribution center will serve more than 300 Ace affiliated stores. Ace’s network of global distribution facilities serve more than 5,500 retail locations. Construction is slated to begin later this year. Ace said the distribution center would be fully operational in early 2023. “Ace Hardware continuously evaluates distribution capabilities to ensure we meet our growing business demands and offer the best support and service to Ace retailers and our wholesale customers,” said Jeff Gooding, Corporate Vice President of Marketing, Ace Hardware. “Opening this new facility is essential for Ace to keep up with our historic growth and better serve our network of retailers, and ultimately, our Ace customers.”

The Visalia distribution center will feature new technology, a climate-controlled environment, and improved automation to help to help streamline and enhance operations. It will also include space for future expansions.


Cruise is buying solar energy from California farmers to power its electric, self-driving fleet

Cruise, the self-driving car company under General Motors, has launched a new initiative called Farm to Fleet that will allow the company to source solar power from farms in California’s Central Valley. The San Francisco Chronicle was the first to report the news that Cruise is directly purchasing renewable energy credits from Sundale Vineyards and Moonlight Companies to help power its fleet of all-electric autonomous vehicles in San Francisco.

Cruise recently secured a permit to shuttle passengers in its test vehicles in San Francisco without a human safety operator behind the wheel. The company is also ramping up its march to commercialization with a recent $5 billion line of credit from GM Financial to pay for hundreds of electric and autonomous Origin vehicles. While this partnership with California farmers is undoubtedly a boon to the state’s work in progressing renewable energies while also providing jobs and financial opportunities to local businesses, Cruise isn’t running a charity here.

The California Independent System Operator has been soliciting power producers across the western United States to sell more megawatts to the state this summer in anticipation of heat waves that will boost electricity demand and potentially cause blackouts. Power supplies are lower than expected already due to droughts, outages and delays in bringing new energy generation sources to the grid, causing reduced hydroelectric generation. To ensure California’s grid can handle the massive increase in fleet size Cruise is planning, it seems that the company has no choice but to find creative ways to bolster the grid. Cruise, however, is holding firm that it’s got loftier goals than securing the energy from whatever sources are available. “This is entirely about us doing the right thing for our cities and communities and fundamentally transforming transportation for the better,” Ray Wert, a Cruise spokesperson, told TechCrunch.

With droughts continuing to plague California farmers, converting farmland to solar farms is a potential way to help the state meet its climate change targets, according to a report from environmental nonprofit Nature Conservancy. Which is why Cruise saw the logic in approaching Central Valley farmers now. “Farm to Fleet is a vehicle to rapidly reduce urban transportation emissions while generating new revenue for California’s farmers leading in renewable energy,” said Rob Grant, Cruise’s vice president of social affairs and global impact, in a blog post.


Fresno State, UC Merced ranked high on lists of nation’s best colleges. What to know

Fresno State, Fresno Pacific, and UC Merced are among the nation’s best universities in social mobility, according to U.S. News and World Report’s new 2022 college rankings. For this year’s rankings, the organization looked at the percentage of Pell Grant students who enter each university and the 6-year graduation rate of those students. Students eligible for Pell Grants are typically from low-income households. UC Merced ranked no. 4 on the list, with 62% of its fall 2013/2014 cohort Pell Grant-eligible, and 68% graduate within six years.

Fresno Pacific University, a private Christian university, earned a spot at no. 13. Fresno State ranked no. 21 — tying with UCLA — with 69% of Pell Grant receivers entering its fall 2013/2014 classes and 52% graduating within six years. Fresno Pacific also ranked no. 41 in regional universities in the west. Fresno State also earned the no. 53 spot on the list of best undergraduate engineering programs where a doctorate isn’t offered. The university earned no. 13 in the civil engineering category, no. 16 in electrical/electronic/communications, and no. 24 in mechanical, tying with several other schools. UC Merced moved up a few spots this year, tying at No. 93 in the national universities category, No. 38 in top public schools, and No. 57 in most innovative schools. It earned a No. 8 spot for the economic diversity of its students. The newest UC earned a few other spots, including tying for No. 58 in best undergraduate teaching and ranking no. 129 in best value schools.

Last year, UC Merced tied with UCLA and UC Irvine to earn the No. 1 spot for best student outcomes. The university has ran up the ranks in the last few years, improving in many categories, said Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz. “This confirms yet again that what we do at UC Merced is making an impact on the world and greatly improving the lives of young people,” said Sánchez Muñoz. “Our reputation is solidly grounded in our world-class research and teaching, in the amazing students who join us every year and the successful alumni who tell our story.” This year Fresno State fell two slots to earn the No. 211 spot in the overall national ranking. It also fell in the category of top public schools, ranking No. 107 this year and 101 last year.

Now in its 37th year, U.S. World and News Report’s rankings evaluate more than 1,400 colleges and universities on up to 17 measures of academic quality, according to the organization.