Faraday Future FF91 prototype
The shame of Faraday Future’s financial struggles is that it has what looks to be a viable new electric car, not just on paper, but ready to roll on the road—in prototype form—that may never actually make it to market.
On Sunday, the company revealed a new joint venture with a video-game company in China that could bring it $600 million to build a version of its FF91 in China.
The company will form a joint venture with The9, a Chinese video-game company that launched the first Chinese virtual currency and community in 1999 and once had the exclusive license to operate World of Warcraft in China. It trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange and is reportedly worth $100 million.
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The joint venture aims to produce a new model for the Chinese market based on the FF91, called the V9. The joint company plans to produce up to 300,000 V9s per year for the Chinese market.
In a statement released Sunday, Faraday Future said that The9 will initially invest $5 million, which Faraday Future will use to “overcome its short-term cash flow difficulties and support its ongoing equity financing efforts.”
The balance of the $600 million is dependent on meeting certain investment contingencies.
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The company also said the joint venture will help it get the FF91 into production in the U.S.
Faraday Future has a factory in California, where it planned to build the FF91, and had talent from Tesla, Apple, and quite a few automakers to develop the FF91, but it has laid off most of it staff after a funding dispute with its previous backer, Evergrande Health, a large, Hong Kong-based conglomerate intent on getting into the electric-car business. Evergrande also holds a majority stake in National Electric Vehicles Sweden, a Chinese company that builds electric versions of the last Saab 9-3 in China.
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That $2 billion funding deal fell apart in a volley of lawsuits when Faraday Future spent through the first round of funding building running production prototypes of the FF91. The lawsuits were later withdrawn as Evergrande agreed to let Faraday Future seek additional funding from other sources.
The company has since struggled to do so, and The9 represents its first new source of major funding since the $2 billion deal with Evergrande fell apart.