Chinese Billionaire’s Tesla Rival Loses Key Battery Designer

  • Electric-car maker showing vehicle concept this week at CES
  • Chief battery architect left this month, LinkedIn page shows

Faraday Future Inc., the electric-car startup backed by Chinese Internet billionaire Jia Yueting, lost its chief battery architect ahead of introducing its concept vehicle at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Porter Harris left the company this month and lists his current employer as Lotus Research and Development LLC on his LinkedIn Page. His e-mail address is listed as the primary contact on Lotus R&D’s website. Harris was responsible for engineering and designing Faraday’s battery packs.

The departure is untimely for Faraday, which just signed an agreement to build a $1 billion factory north of Las Vegas to make electric vehicles and has its coming-out party at CES this week. Faraday has been secretive, even refusing to divulge the name of it chief executive officer.

Harris did not return a call or e-mail seeking comment. A spokeswoman for Faraday also did not return a call and a text message seeking comment.

Faraday hired Harris from Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, the rocket company led by Tesla Motors Inc.’s Elon Musk. Harris worked at Faraday for 15 months.

The company is one of several Chinese-backed startups ramping up operations in the U.S. to make electric cars, along with Atieva Inc. and Karma Automotive. The companies are tapping the U.S. for automotive technology and experience and planning to sell cars in China, where the government is taking measures against air pollution.

Jia is founder of Leshi Internet Information & Technology. He has backed both Faraday and Atieva.

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