An electric vehicle caught fire at the Faraday Future manufacturing plant in Hanford last month, according to a website that covers technology news.
The first and only pre-production prototype of the company’s flagship FF91 luxury electric vehicle caught fire shortly after it had been shown to employees and their families at an event in September, according to The Verge.
A spokesman for Faraday Future confirmed with The Bee that a “minor incident” at the Hanford plant had occurred.
“I will say that we are aware of a recent minor incident in one of our pre-production vehicles while it was undergoing testing at our Hanford manufacturing facility,” said spokesman John Schilling. “No injuries or damage to the facility occurred. The vehicle’s high voltage battery pack was intact and not involved in the incident.”
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Additionally, Schilling said, “This was an unfortunate occurrence but not extraordinary in the business of vehicle development and testing. We are investigating the incident including using third party investigators to better understand what happened.”
The incident is mentioned in a larger story about a crucial financing deal that appears to be falling apart between Chinese billionaire YT Jia, the founder of Faraday Future and its chief executive officer, and Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd., a Hong Kong-based holding company.
Production of Faraday Future’s first vehicle is supposed to start in Hanford by the end of the year. If successful, the company would be a competitor of Tesla in the electric vehicle market at the higher end.
But if the financing deal falls apart, Faraday could go belly up before any cars are made, a column published Monday at Forbes.com said. (For unknown reasons, the column is no longer available.)
Jia arranged last year to receive $800 million from Evergrande in exchange for Evergrande getting 45 percent of the company. Evergrande also agreed to invest an additional $1.2 billion in two installments in 2019 and 2020.
But Reuters reported Sunday that a filing submitted by Evergrande to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange states that Jia was trying to end the deal.
Monday, Faraday Future issued a statement about the situation.
The statement said Evergrande had promised to advance further funds to Faraday Future earlier than originally agreed. Evergrande would invest $500 million this year instead of waiting until next year, but so far that hasn’t happened. Faraday said the reason is because Evergrande’s goal is now to gain control of Faraday Future.
Meanwhile, Evergrande is unfairly trying to keep Jia and Faraday Future from getting other financing elsewhere, Faraday said.
“Evergrande has failed to live up to its end of the bargain and make the payments it agreed to make,” Faraday said in the statement. “This is a matter of basic, common sense fairness — Evergrande shouldn’t be permitted to withhold the funding and simultaneously prevent FF from accepting alternative financing or investments.”