This must be the week when moribund Chinese electric car companies come back from the dead. On Monday, we heard that the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund is considering a $1 billion investment in Lucid Motors, née Atieva, which sank beneath the waves without a trace a year ago.
Now the South China Morning Post is reporting that Faraday Future, the electric car company founded and funded by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, is also being revived by an infusion of cash, this time from Chinese health care facility company Evergrande Health. The company is said to have purchased a 45% stake in the cash starved startup last month for $854 million.
Production of the FF91, Faraday Future’s 1050 horsepower flagship vehicle, will now begin at a factory in Hanford, California, early next year. Another facility is under development in Guangzhou, which has been selected as the global headquarters for the company. Faraday Future will invest a total of $2 billion in 5 research centers there and other locations within China. Founder Jia Yueting was placed on a debt default list last December after his primary company, LeEco, failed to pay loan obligations totaling more than $2 million on time.
In a statement, Peng Jianjun, vice chairman of Evergrande Health, says “We are conducting rigorous testing of the FF91 model, and are very confident of achieving the mass production target by the end of the first quarter of next year.” Uh huh. That and 5 bucks will get you a small latte at Starbucks. His company also boasts it will be producing 5 million vehicles a year in 5 years.
That seems a bit of a stretch, considering the long history of hype and heavy breathing that has surrounded Faraday Future since its inception. Not the least of those misadventures was a proposed US factory in North Las Vegas, Nevada, that was shut down after the company failed to pay for site preparation work performed by global construction company AECOM.
Then there was the abortive “customer experience center” that was going to be built on Mare Island in San Francisco Bay. Rather than posh Silicon Valley, Hanford is in California’s Central Valley south of Fresno and closer to LA than SF. Its “factory” is little more than a recycled commercial building out in the desert with a company logo spray painted on the door, according to ABC30 News.
The time for boast and bluster is over. Now it’s time to put up or shut up for Faraday Future. As nice a car as the FF91 may be, it seems unlikely it will ever see the light of day in any significant quantities either in America or China. “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.