LeEco-linked factory in California completely empty, outlook for EV project unclear: report

Updated 2017-12-18 10:30:25 Global Times

There is no production equipment in the factory established by the founder of Chinese technology company LeEco Jia Yueting in Hanford, California, and only one employee punches in and out every day, Chinese media reported on Sunday.

In early December, several reporters from Chinese news site thepaper.cn went to the factory designed for producing electric vehicles (EVs), which was backed by Faraday Future (FF) and LeEco.

What the reporters found was an empty factory.

Hundreds of employees from FF came to the facility at one point in August to clear out the place, a source close to the matter who gave his name as Franklin was quoted as saying in the report.

Jia had his name and ID number splashed on China's defaulter website after failing to satisfy a court order to pay Ping An Securities Group (Holdings) more than 470 million yuan ( million), according to a notice dated December 11, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

FF unveiled an EV model at global consumer technologies event CES 2017 in Las Vegas in January.

There was an online facility for pre-orders, with vehicles expected to begin being delivered in 2018, Nick Sampson, FF's senior vice president of product research and development, said at the event.

Franklin said the company's plan to begin mass production at the end of 2018, "is impossible." He noted that there was nothing inside, and that the company would need to upgrade the facility, have the electricity turned on, move in equipment and so on.

A US-based technology outlet, The Verge, reported on Tuesday that most of its sources said Jia inflated financial promises to the FF project, and they believed his ambitions overmatched the company's waning cash flow.

Representatives for FF admitted that Jia was the main financial backer of the company, but they have maintained that the company was independent from LeEco, The Verge said.

It remains unclear if EVs can be produced in the factory, thepaper.cn said.

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