Faraday Future recently abandoned plans to build its own tailor-made factory from scratch in Nevada, and now it’s signed a lease on a new ready-made production facility in Hanford, Calif. The switch in strategy reflects a broader shift in the electric carmaker’s approach, which has been scaled down for earlier ambitious and lofty goals based on the company’s economic realities.
Faraday Future says the new factory, which it hopes to move into fully by November once the existing tenant departs (it was a Pirelli plant previously) should be ready to help deliver the first production FF 91 vehicles to customers by the end of 2018. Faraday unveiled the FF 91 at a splashy launch event at CES in January, which featured a reveal presided over by LeEco CEO Jia Yueting.
Despite his prominence at the event, Faraday Future is now downplaying their ties to the embattled CEO and his flailing company, which appears to be on the brink of economic collapse. In an interview with Roadshow, Faraday CFO and COO Stefan Krause said there is “no legal relationship with LeEco,” and explained that should that one-time backer go under, Faraday will remain solvent.
Still, the company needs to raise and raise big to keep things on track: It’s seeking $1 billion in fresh funding to continue its development and production plans. Financial challenges are nothing new for upstart automakers, however, and rival Tesla had to overcome similar hurdles to bring its own cars to market.
Still, there are signs that Faraday is in a very tenuous spot at the moment, and the new production plant lease looks like an attempt to demonstrate some kind of stability and path to shipping amid that chaos.