Former Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann Joins Startup Evelozcity

Evelozcity plans to launch its first electric car in 2021.

Axel Wierdemann

Former Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann has joined the executive team and board of directors at Evelozcity, the electric-car startup founded by former Faraday Future CFO Stefan Krause. Evelozcity, which does not use traditional job titles, said Neumann will be "in charge of mobility," including "new connected car experience and mobility concepts," as well as marketing and European-market operations.

Neumann resigned as CEO of Opel last year, shortly after the brand (and its Vauxhall sibling) was sold by General Motors to PSA Peugeot Citro├źn. He was a strong advocate of electric cars at both Opel and a previous position with the Volkswagen Group, so it's easy to imagine him fitting in at Evelozcity. Neumann also recently joined the board of mobility startup Door2Door.

Evelozcity has for the most part flown under the radar, with the major exception of a lawsuit filed against it by Faraday Future. The suit alleges that Evelozcity founder Stefan Krause stole trade secrets for the startup while he was still employed by Faraday, and encouraged Faraday employees to follow him to the new company. Evelozcity has denied these accusations.

Evelozcity is named as the only defendant in the suit, while Faraday has reportedly pursued arbitration against both Krause and Ulrich Kranz, the former BMW "i" sub-brand executive who became Faraday's CTO before joining Evelozcity. He is currently listed as the company's executive "in charge of technology."

In addition to naming Neumann as an executive, Evelozcity revealed more details about its plans. The company hopes to develop a "skateboard architecture" that different bodies can be placed on. The idea harkens back to GM's hydrogen fuel-cell Autonomy concept from the early 2000s and would allow designers to completely eliminate the three-box template of engine compartment, passenger compartment, and cargo area, that has more or less carried over to electric cars from internal combustion.

The company plans to use this new architecture as the basis for three vehicles: a personal car, a last-mile delivery vehicle, and a ride-hailing vehicle. It plans to launch the first vehicle in 2021 but did not say which of the three that would be. Other variants will follow after that.

Evelozcity also plans to use its newness as a marketing tool, describing itself as a "boutique California brand that will provide options to individuals who do not want to drive cars from manufacturers associated with gasoline vehicles." 

Have its founders not heard of Tesla?