LeEco of­fers first pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS - By FANFEIFEI in Bei­jing and HEZI JIANG in Las Ve­gas

But an­a­lysts warn it may be too late to re­sus­ci­tate the debt-laden group

US-based elec­tric car startup Faraday Fu­ture, backed by LeEco, un­veiled its first pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle FF 91 in Las Ve­gas at the 2017 Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show, a move to drum up more in­vest­ment and ex­tri­cate LeEco from cash flow woes.

The de­but of the FF 91 is seen as the last chance for Jia Yuet­ing, CEO and founder of LeEco, and his debt-laden com­pany, said an­a­lysts.

TheFF91 rep­re­sents a bold new breed of elec­tric mo­bil­ity, which fea­tures ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, record-break­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion speeds and lon­glast­ing bat­tery en­ergy.

With 1,050 horse­power, the ve­hi­cle can go from zero to 96 kilo­me­ters per hour in 2.39 sec­onds, mak­ing it one of the fastest ac­cel­er­at­ing cars in the world, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

It can go more than 700 kilo­me­ters on one charge. “No other elec­tric ve­hi­cle can do that,” said Peter Sav­a­gian, vice-pres­i­dent of propul­sion en­gi­neer­ing at FF.

The car pos­sesses a com­plex sen­sor sys­tem and driver­less valet fea­ture. By press­ing a but­ton on the Faraday mo­bile app, the car will park it­self. It could also learn user’s pref­er­ences over time to cre­ate a per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Our mis­sion is not just to build an elec­tric ve­hi­cle, but a glob­ally shared in­ter­net mo­bil­ity ecosys­tem,” Jia said.

Jia added FF has bro­ken the tech­no­log­i­cal bound­aries of in­ter­net, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, IT, au­to­mo­bile and elec­tric sys­tems, re­defin­ing the core value of car.

The car can be or­dered by pay­ing a $5,000 de­posit through Faraday’s web­site. The first batch is sched­uled to be de­liv­ered next year.

Although LeEco has faced many chal­lenges, such as supply chain man­age­ment and cap­i­tal is­sues, Jia is still push­ing ahead with the elec­tric ve­hi­cle ini­tia­tive.

Leshi In­ter­net In­for­ma­tion and Tech­nol­ogy Corp, LeEco’s listed arm, said last week LeEco will ob­tain more than 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.4 bil­lion) fi­nanc­ing from strate­gic in­vestors.

“The de­but of FF 91 at the CES shows Jia’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to build an elec­tric car and re­store in­vestor’s con­fi­dence. How­ever, the prospect of mass-pro­duc­tion of the e-car in 2018 will re­main slightly out of reach,” said ShenMeng, di­rec­tor of Chan­son & Co, a bou­tique in­vest­ment bank in China.

Shen ex­pressed con­cerns that the event was merely a con­tin­u­a­tion of LeEco’s flam­boy­ant mar­ket­ing meth­ods, which will do lit­tle to save the firm from its big­gest prob­lem, its acute cash crunch, against a back­drop of slug­gish global eco­nomic growth.

Lu Zhen­wang, CEO of the Shang­hai-based Wan­qing Con­sul­tancy, cast se­ri­ous doubt on LeEco’s abil­ity to mass-pro­duce the FF 91 by next year.

“The launch cer­e­mony was an at­tempt to gain more sup­port from in­vestors, but where are LeEco’s de­tailed plans, such as the es­tab­lish­ment of charg­ing fa­cil­i­ties and where it will make these cars,” Lu said.

The launch cer­e­mony was an at­tempt to gain more sup­port from in­vestors ...”

Con­tact the writ­ers through fanfeifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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