Tesla Competitor From China Ponies Up $1 Billion To Launch U.S. Operations

November 6, 2015

Back in August, we told you about Jia Yueting, a Chinese entrepreneur who created LeTV (China's answer to Netflix). The billionaire techie had announced his intention to take on Tesla in the luxury electric car arena.

Since then, we've learned a bit more about Yueting's plans -- and according to recent reports, they include building a $1 billion manufacturing facility right here in the U.S. Here are the key points:

  • Yueting's company is now officially known as Faraday Future.
  • Faraday is looking at four states for its homebase: California, Georgia, Louisiana, and Nevada. The company has set up temporary digs in Nissan's former U.S. sales office in Gardena, California.
  • Faraday has hired well, nabbing staff with resume credits that include stints at Audi, BMW, Porsche, Tesla, and even SpaceX. The company currently employs some 400 workers.
  • Like Tesla, Faraday Future plans to launch with one head-turning halo vehicle in hopes that it will drive interest in the brand.
  • That car is expected to be fully electric, with some autonomous functionality.
  • Production is slated to begin in 2017.
  • While the company may sell cars in the conventional way, there's also talk of a shared ownership option that could work a bit like having an Uber car at the user's beck and call. (FYI, Uber has already asked for a fleet of 500,000 Teslas, which might be capable of similar acts before long.) Executives have also mentioned a subscription option like the one that smartphone retailers employ, which could generate additional revenue for Faraday via apps and upgrades. 

Perhaps the most interesting bit in all of that is the location of Faraday's manufacturing plant. Three of the four states that Faraday has identified are Tesla-friendly: California is the site of Elon Musk's HQ, Nevada is home to Tesla's new gigafactory, and Georgia has recently made purchasing a Tesla easier for consumers. As for Louisiana, maybe Yueting has his eyes on the site where V-Vehicle set up shop before it quickly folded.  

Whether Faraday can be up and running within two years...well, we'll leave that discussion to you.

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