Electric vehicle (EV) maker Faraday Future has announced that the company is putting construction of a planned $1 billion Nevada assembly plant on hold and will instead move to an existing manufacturing facility in California that once was used to make tarps. The building is located about 200 miles north of the company’s Los Angeles headquarters in the town of Hanford.
The plan is to have the first production model of the company’s FF91 come of the Hanford line by the end of 2018. Usually positioned as a competitor to Tesla Inc.’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model S sedan, the FF91 is nearer in size to Tesla’s Model X.
Faraday Future’s has been fighting off a cash shortage since its primary backer, Jia Yueting, former chairman of Chinese smartphone maker LeEco, had $183 million in Chinese assets and about $2.3 billion in LeEco shares frozen in early July. He had resigned as LeEco’s CEO in May.
Stefan Krause, the company’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, noted:
We know there is a lot of work and risks ahead, but this event represents a major step forward for the company. Investors invest in people, and our employees continue to be Faraday Future’s strongest asset. As we begin this next phase in our company’s history, our efforts to build out strong corporate leadership will bring a new focus to Faraday Future and deliver on our commitments to employees, investors, suppliers, and future users, who have shown exceptional patience and resilience through the company’s difficult times.
Akshay Anand, an executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book, commented:
The new leadership has deep industry expertise and the company is focusing on the FF 91 model. Now, Faraday has admitted its Nevada site was a mistake and secured a facility that will be more cost-effective and allow better speed to market. Given the rapid industry advances in electric vehicles, these are critical aspects for success. Faraday still has an uphill road given that producing a vehicle is a daunting task, and other electric vehicles are dominating the headlines, but at the very least, there is now some potential in a situation that was starting to look bleak.
The FF91, like the first Tesla Model S sedans, is aimed at a high-end market for a high-performance car. The FF91 comes with a 130 kWh battery back and develops 1,050 horsepower and has a driving range between charges of 378 miles. The Tesla Model S with the highest performance is the P100D that comes with a 100 kWh battery pack, a horsepower rating of 760 and a range between charges of 289 miles.
The price tag of the FF91 is expected to be at or above the P100D’s $148,000 starting price.