faraday future

Hanford city officials got their first look at a prototype of the FF 91, the all-electric luxury car that startup Faraday Future plans to build in a former tire plant in Hanford, last year.

published on January 16, 2019 - 2:07 PM
Written by David Castellon

The Chinese investment group that is backing electric car startup Faraday Future now is also backing another electric car company.

Online news sources report that Evergrande Health on Tuesday bought a controlling interest in National Electric Vehicles Sweden, the Chinese-owned company that in 2012 bought the rights to what had been Saab Automobile AB after the Swedish automaker went bankrupt in 2011 under the ownership of U.S. auto giant General Motors.

Saab temporarily stopped making cars after the bankruptcy but restarted in 2013, with a move to producing electric cars. But the company later lost its right to use the Saab name and now produces cars under the NEVS brand name.

NEVS has 500 employees in Sweden at Saab’s former headquarters in Trollhätten, along with a factory in Tianjin, China that builds electric cars for the Chinese market, according to the Green Car Reports website.

Evergrande became involved in Faraday after a separate Chinese investment group made in late 2017 a commitment to invest $2 billion into the fledgling carmaker for a 45 percent stake in the company, putting $800 million down. Much of that money has gone to converting a former tire plant in north Hanford into the company’s first manufacturing plant.

Evergrande a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of property developer China Evergrande Group, later acquired the investment group, including the major stake in Faraday.

But Evergrande butted heads with Faraday’s CEO, Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, and reportedly reneged on an agreement to invest $700 million of its remaining $1.2 billion commitment last year, leading to an open feud between the two sides that ended recently with both sides agreeing to suspend their legal challenges and Evergrande retaining a reduced, 32 percent stake in Faraday, allowing the startup to seek desperately-needed new investors and loans to get the company back on track to finally start producing cars this year, the South China Morning Post reports.

Evergrande reportedly is paying $930 million for a 51 percent stake in NEVS, with the first installment of $430 million paid on Tuesday, according to the Post.

The remaining stake in NEVS is owned by Tianjin’s government and a state-run think tank.’

Faraday officials couldn’t immediately be reached to comment on how one of its major investors having controlling interest in a rival electric car company might affect its business plans.

Meanwhile, a report by Faraday on its plans to return hundreds of employees to work after they were laid off due to the company’s financial problems wasn’t issued late last week, as expected.

No new time frame for when such a report may be issued wasn’t offered.

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