Doubts swirl around Faraday Future’s future

March 14, 2016 // By Junko Yoshida
Is Faraday Future a house of cards? That question will be answered if and when Faraday Future, the EV startup most hyped leading up to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, keeps its word by starting to build its own cars in Nevada.

“The ball is in their [Faraday Future’s] court,” Dan Schwartz, state treasurer of Nevada, told EE Times Friday (March 11). “I’d suspend judgement until they deliver what they said they would.”

If this doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement from a key public official in Nevada — where Faraday Future has promised a billion-dollar, 3-million-square-foot plant — that’s because it isn’t.

Faraday Future’s plan for its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas, which is supposed to bring 4,500 jobs, has stalled. The public has seen little progress, despite the planned groundbreaking for the plant, which Faraday Future promised during a CES press conference in January.

 

 

Blueprint of Faraday Future's $1 billion plant (Source: Faraday Future)

Blueprint of Faraday Future's $1 billion plant (Source: Faraday Future)

 

 

 

At issue, apparently, is lack of cash.

The story of Faraday Future, whose major financial backer is a Chinese company, is intertwined with China’s stumbling stock market and the credibility of an Internet firm in that country. The non-existent transparency at the U.S. startup hasn’t helped to clear the picture, either.

The future of Faraday Future is largely at the mercy of Leshi, a publicly traded Internet company in China. Leshi is a parent company of a media firm called LeEco, which bankrolled Faraday Future. LeEco, formerly known as LeTV, has been often described as China’s Netflix. Little is known, however, about how much real money LeEco has committed to Faraday.

More to the point, the core question Schwartz and others are asking now is this: Does Faraday’s billionaire Chinese backer, Jia Yueting, who owns Leshi, have the financial resources to get a $1 billion car factory off the drawing board and into the desert?