The electric car maker Faraday Future has developed a 1,000-horsepower wonder car, but the company is dogged by financial uncertainty. Video by Sophia Tulp/USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO — Tesla is getting the lion’s share of electric-automaker publicity of late with the recent rollout of its entry-level Model 3 sedan.
But a would-be rival has signaled it hopes to steal some of that spotlight soon.
Los Angeles-based and Chinese-backed Faraday Future announced Sunday it has leased a 1-million-square-foot former tire factory in Hanford, Calif., a few miles west of Visalia in the state’s arid Central Valley.
Faraday Future executives say they hope to begin production of the company’s flagship FF 91 vehicle by the end of 2018.
“Time-to-market is important to our overall strategy,” Stefan Krause, FF CFO and COO, told USA TODAY. Krause, a former BMW CFO, added that “there is a value to being second to Tesla, it’s a good market position. At BMW, we were an endless second to Mercedes-Benz, until we beat them” in sales earlier this year.
The lease agreement in Hanford comes less than a month after FF announced it would be canceling plans to invest $1 billion in a new factory in Nevada.
That initial commitment, along with a splashy unveiling of a race car at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, brought FF a rash of publicity that wasn’t followed up by product.
Analysts and auto world watchers grew even more skeptical when FF’s main benefactor, Chinese tech billionaire Jia Yueting, had around $200 million in assets frozen by Chinese authorities due to unpaid loans and was forced to step down from some of his publicly traded companies.
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Financial issues in fact sent Krause on a recent world tour to drum…