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Chinese Money-Fueled Tesla Rival Looking at LA for Manufacturing

Chinese Money-Fueled Tesla Rival Looking at LA for Manufacturing

Bankrolled by a Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, a group is looking to develop an electric car that rivals Tesla.

The group is comprised of former Tesla, BMW, Porsche, Audi and GM engineers and executives, as well as a battery engineer from Hawthorne’s SpaceX rocket company. The project is underway at Nissan’s former sales office in Gardena, according to the LA Times. Jia founded Leshi Internet Information & Technology, and is reportedly worth $7B, making him 17th-richest person in China.

The electric car startup, which is headed by Leshi’s US affiliate chief executive Chaoying Deng, plans to invest $1B in a factory that churns out the next luxury electric car under the brand Faraday (rumored to be a front for the Apple car). The brand also has plans to eventually produce a more affordable version for the masses.

The startup is considering factory sites in California, Georgia, Louisiana and Nevada, but is approaching various states for an economic incentive to launch such an enterprise, with the expectation of putting its first vehicle in the marketplace by 2017.

But Faraday has considerable competition. Tesla is coming out with a new Model X. Volvo is planning an electric car plant in South Carolina that will open in 2018 and have the capacity to produce up to 100,000 cars annually. Additionally, Audi is entering the luxury electric car market in 2018 with the Audi e-tron quattro (pictured) SUV, and Karma Automotive, the new name for Fisker vehicles, has leased a large Moreno Valley factory to build plug-in, hybrid electric vehicles expected to hit the marketplace next year. [LAT