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Electric cars

Faraday Future is on track for mass output of FF91 electric cars, after cash lifeline by new owner

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2018, 8:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2018, 10:45pm

Faraday Future, the electric carmaker that almost brought China’s video streaming company LeEco to the brink of bankruptcy, is on schedule to begin mass production of its FF91 model in the first quarter of 2019, according to its new owner Evergrande Health.

The carmaker has begun putting together the FF91 vehicle in Hanford, California, while making progress on its first China production centre with foundation work in Guangzhou, Evergrande Health said.

“We are conducting rigorous testing of the FF91 model, and are very confident of achieving the mass production target by the end of the first quarter of next year,” said Peng Jianjun, vice-chairman of Evergrande Health, a unit of property developer Evergrande Group, which paid HK$6.7 billion (US$854 million) last month for 45 per cent of the cash-starved start-up.

The company, which operates health centres and medical facilities for pensioners, reported that its interim net profit had almost tripled to 200 million yuan (US$29.2 million), while revenue jumped by 180 per cent to 1.1 billion yuan in the same period.

The firm plans to expand its network to 100 centres in five years, aiming to serve 1 million customers.

The expanded health care business will sit alongside electric cars to “contribute accordingly to Evergrande Health’s profits and revenue” in future, said the company’s executive director, Shi Shouming.

The FF91, designed with 1,050 horsepower and an acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.39 seconds, was supposed to carry a price tag of 2 million yuan. The project was bailed out by China’s third-largest property developer after the car plant’s development cost weighed on the finances of its original investor, Jia Yueting.

Jia was put on a national debt default blacklist in December, after failing to pay 480 million yuan of debt owed by LeEco, a consequence of years of rapid, leveraged expansion by the tech company.

Faraday Future will achieve the capacity to produce 5 million vehicles per annum in five years, comprising both high-end models and lower-end variants, according to an August 14 announcement by Evergrande Health.

The company has set up a headquarters in Guangzhou with a US$2 billion investment, and plans to build five research, development and production centres across China.

For now, investors appeared to have been receptive of Evergrande Health’s investment, bidding up the company’s shares by 66 per cent since it announced the acquisition in June, and pushing prices up by 39 per cent in August.

Shares of the company edged up 0.6 per cent to close at HK$13.42 on Tuesday before Evergrande Health announced its results.

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