Faraday Future Starts Construction at New California Factory Site

Does Faraday have a future?

byStephen Edelstein|
Faraday Future Starts Construction at New California Factory Site

Beleaguered electric-car startup Faraday Future showed a rare sign of life when it released a video Wednesday showing construction work at its new factory site in Hanford, California. But it's still unclear whether Faraday can meet its goal of getting the FF 91 electric SUV into production by the end of the year.

After nixing plans for a brand-new factory in North Las Vegas, Faraday chose the downsized Hanford site, which previously housed a Pirelli tire factory. The company was in dire financial straits at the end of 2017, but reportedly secured a $1.5 billion investment from an unnamed Hong Kong party. Faraday held a supplier summit in February where it reaffirmed plans to get the FF 91 into production this year.

Faraday has purchased all long lead-time equipment it needs for production, and will start installing what's needed to build "pre-production" versions of the FF 91 on May 9, an unnamed  person within the company told The Verge. The company is reportedly aiming to roll the first pre-production car off the line at the end of August. It's the first indication that Faraday is stabilizing.

Since the FF 91 was unveiled at CES 2017, the company has been plagued with financial issues and executive departures. Faraday relied on Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting and his LeEco tech company for funding, but LeEco's financial troubles put an end to that. Jia took over as CEO of Faraday in December 2017, but is being pursued by the Chinese government over debts.

Faraday's plans now include increased emphasis on selling cars in China, according to The Verge. That was likely a big part of Jia's plan all along, with a recent report claiming he has tried to populate Faraday with employees from LeEco. China's generous electric-car incentives and plans for stricter emissions standards have attracted dozens of entrepreneurs looking to get in on an anticipated market boom.

As Faraday works to get FF 91 production back on track, the company is also suing former CFO Stefan Krause. In its lawsuit, Faraday alleges that Krause stole trade secrets and encouraged employees to follow him to electric-car startup Evelozcity during his final days at Faraday. Evelozcity, which denies these charges, plans to launch its first electric car in 2021.