| DETROIT/SAN FRANCISCO
DETROIT/SAN FRANCISCO Dec 14 Three
electric-vehicle startups funded by Chinese billionaire Jia
Yueting will show off new prototype vehicles at the giant CES
2017 trade show in Las Vegas next month, with one of the
companies privately mapping out an ambitious 10-year, 12-vehicle
rollout, according to two former executives.
But even as the three companies start to unveil prototypes,
they still have not said how they plan to fund their efforts to
challenge Tesla Motors Inc in the luxury electric
One of three, Faraday Future, plans to introduce a dozen new
vehicles through 2026, according to two former executives who
declined to speak on the record.
On Wednesday, another of the companies, California-based
Lucid Motors, unveiled a prototype of a luxury sedan it hopes to
begin building in Arizona in late 2018. Lucid, formerly named
Atieva, plans to follow the launch of its premium electric with
a pair of luxury crossovers in 2020-2021, company executives
told Reuters in June.
In November, Jia said the third electric vehicle company he
is backing, Beijing-based LeEco, faced a shortage of cash and
was suffering from expanding too fast, in too many directions.
Weeks later, LeEco's parent, Leshi Holdings, said it
had secured commitments in China for $600 million to support
Jia's plan to build three factories - one for each brand -
is expected to cost at least $3.5 billion, according to
estimates from each company. Design and engineering could boost
startup costs by another $1 billion or more, according to
sources familiar with Jia's strategy.
Faraday has said it will unveil a prototype of its first
production vehicle at CES, but so far has declined to provide
details. The former executives describe the vehicle - internally
dubbed Project 91 - as a large, luxury flagship sedan designed
to sell for $150,000-$200,000, or more than the most expensive
Tesla. It is slated for production in early 2018, Faraday has
A second model, dubbed Project 81 and due about a year
later, is a mid-size crossover slotted in size and price between
the Tesla Model S and Model X. Faraday plans a third, less
expensive model to debut around 2020.
A Faraday spokesperson declined to comment on Wednesday.
Faraday started building a $1 billion assembly plant outside
Las Vegas. However, work stopped in November after
Faraday missed several payments to the building contractor,
according to a Nevada state official.
LeEco, whose U.S. headquarters is in San Jose, earlier this
year showed a prototype of its first vehicle, a self-driving
luxury car called LeSEE, and later announced plans to build its
own $1.8 billion factory in Hangzhou, China.
(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit and Alexandria Sage in
San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)