Faraday Future to roll out electric cars

Faraday Future to roll out electric cars

US start-up company Faraday Future plans to start building electric cars by 2017, it has been announced.

With backing from a Chinese billionaire, it is set to take on Tesla Motors, starting with a one-billion-dollar investment in a new automotive factory.

Faraday, which is based in California, US, is so secretive that it will not reveal the name of its chief executive.

It is the latest in a string of Chinese-backed start-up businesses to work on electric vehicles in the US, taking advantage of expert engineering and design knowledge.

Nick Sampson, a former Tesla director who is now Faraday's senior vice-president of research and development, says Faraday plans to introduce its first electric car within two years and quickly follow with several other models.

Reports in The Telegraph suggest the firm has been developing its first model with 400 employees and investment from Jia Yueting, founder and chairman of Leshi Television, a popular Chinese online video site.

Faraday intends to launch a single model first and follow on with seven different vehicles "in a faster way than others have achieved", according to Mr Sampson.

Electric cars have not really caught on in the US yet and have been losing money. With petrol being cheap, American consumers are increasingly buying SUVs and pick-up trucks.

Tesla has lost $1.9 billion (£1.26 billion) since 2007, while major carmakers such as General Motors and Nissan have also lost money on plug-in hybrids and EVs.

But Faraday has an alternative way to make money, according to Mr Sampson, with plans to offer connectivity and autonomous driving in its cars. Its vision is to create a rolling smartphone that understands its drivers and their technology preferences.

Revenue will come not just from the car, but on subscriptions for connective services, apps and other "infotainment" that is piped into the car, Mr Sampson says.

Copyright Press Association 2015