After seemingly abandoning its plans to open a manufacturing plant in Las Vegas, electric car maker Faraday Future has found a new home. The company has signed a lease for a 1,000,000-square foot facility in Hanford, California, and more than 500 employees were already onsite last Saturday decorating the building.
Considering Faraday's close ties to troubled Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco and its own financial woes, we're not entirely sure if the EV maker has the money to see this development through. COO/CFO Stefan Krause addressed the uncertainty and skepticism around Faraday's future (ha) in a statement about the new plant, saying "We know there is a lot of work and risks ahead, but this event represents a major step forward for the company."
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Faraday recently secured a $14 million loan that helps cover the cost of this lease. As for the relationship with LeEco, which the two companies previously described as a "strategic partnership," Krause is downplaying Faraday's reliance on the failing Chinese corporation. He told CNET, "Technically, there is no legal relationship with LeEco... They are a supplier and if we would lose them as a supplier there are many suppliers."
That contradicts what was previously reported. LeEco's founder and then-CEO was Faraday's largest investor, and sources within both organizations reportedly saw the car maker's employees working at LeEco's offices. Things may have changed since the Chinese company started to implode. Meanwhile, Faraday says it is continuing to prepare its new site, and that "significant movement" will begin in early 2018, after the current tenants move out in late November.
Update: Faraday Future reached out after this post was published to clarify that it had not completely abandoned its plans for the Nevada site. A spokesperson wrote, "We have not completely cancelled our plans in Vegas. We are retaining ownership of the APEX site, and remain committed to Nevada for our long-term manufacturing goals. Hanford is the right business decision for FF at this time as it provides a faster path to Start of Production." We have edited this post to clarify that it has not actually abandoned those plans.