China's Evergrande is significantly scaling back its investments into electric vehicles thanks to slowing sales of environmentally friendly cars.
Evergrande invested approximately $2.9 billion into EV ventures this year; that number will drop to $2.1 billion in 2020 and $1.4 billion in 2021, South China Morning Post reports. Meanwhile, EV sales in China dropped 46 percent in October. Evergrande is still working on its own EV, the Hengchi 1, which it intends to launch next year, with sales beginning in 2021.
The company's investment history is a rocky one, and is tied to a well-known name with a similarly convoluted back story: Faraday Future. Evergrande stepped onto the scene as part of Faraday Future's California revival. Evergrande's investment in the U.S. startup came with strings attached; before the backer would deliver $300 million in promised capital, beleaguered Faraday Future CEO Jia Yueting would have to step aside.
Jia, looking to get out from under previous EV venture debts, agreed to Evergrande's terms. What followed was a series of bizarre twists and turns that culminated in a lawsuit filed by Faraday Future against its backer, after Evergrande refused to pony up the promised cash, claiming that Jia was effectively still running the company from behind the scenes.
After its falling-out with Faraday Future, Evergrande turned to National Electric Vehicles Sweden, the Chinese company that bought the remaining scraps of Saab and has been building EVs for its home market based on the discontinued 9-3's architecture.
Evergrande could be one of the closest rivals to Tesla, which will begin delivering production units from its Shanghai Gigafactory later this year.