The ongoing drip-feed of information about enigmatic electric car startup Faraday Future (which prefers to call itself FF) continued this morning with the announcement that it has chosen the APEX Industrial Park, Clark County, Nevada as the location where it will build first production electric vehicle.
Announced earlier this morning at a special press conference in Las Veags, the site, located just twenty minutes from the Las Vegas strip off Interstate-15, has been transformed in recent years thanks to the efforts of medical marijuana growers, who brought both water and power lines to the area for the first time.
That means that the site is now perfect for industrial development for the first time, although it also notes that Faraday Future would be the first industrial user on the site. At the moment, there’s one marijuana grower — and fifteen more awaiting permitting for the same purpose.
“We are very excited to make our $1 billion investment in U.S. manufacturing — and this is just phase one,” said Nick Sampson, senior vice president of Faraday Future and former Chassis Engineer for Tesla Motors. “Selecting the right location for the future FF manufacturing facility is critical to our overall goals. Producing our forward-looking and fully-connected electric vehicles not only requires the latest technology, but the right community partner.”
With a $12 million commitment to the local education system, FF has also helped devise a new education program designed specifically to train and certify locals in the skills they’ll need to take one of the proposed 4,500 jobs at the at the 3-million square foot facility. Additionally, 3,000 construction jobs will be created by the construction of the FF facility, while 9,000 indirect jobs in the community will be created as a direct consequence of the new facility. All told, the deal is estimated to be worth $85 billion to the local economy.
In reciprocation, the Nevada Legislature is hoping to offer a plan of tax incentives, abatements and infrastructure improvements worth $335 million.
Similar to the generous packages offered to Tesla Motors in northern Nevada to facilitate the building of its massive Gigafactory, the packages being proposed would not only make it financially viable for FF to build its factory north of Las Vegas but also underscore the state’s commitment to future car technology and high-tech industry.
Nevada Governor Sandoval, speaking at the official press conference, noted that the while the package of incentives and abatements had yet to be passed into law, he was confident that the legislature would pass them into law expeditiously so that the project could continue apace.
The proposed legislation would also green-light investment from the Nevada Department for Transport in order to widen the road leading to FF’s new factory, adding a new off-ramp and flyover to facilitate traffic in and out of the APEX Industrial Park.
Additionally, the state hope to build a brand-new rail park adjacent to the APEX Industrial park, making it possible for APEX Industrial Park businesses to utilize railroad transportation as a way to bring raw materials and goods out of the area.
Like its vehicular designs, FF is still keeping a large portion of its board of management a closely-guarded secret, with the official company press release staying tight-lipped on who it is that owns or runs the company.
Luckily for us however, we’ve got a little hint courtesy of the Nevada Legislature.
That’s because in order to gain state support for the Las Vegas production facility, FF’s Chinese billionaire backer — video and television mogul Jia Yueting — had personally write to the state legislature.
“We hope to bring our $1 billion investment to North Las Vegas and open our first manufacturing facility there, creating 4,500 jobs,” the letter read. “Together with top global experts, we have created a partnership structure for decision-making and management of FF.”
Ranked number 17 on Forbes China Rich List for 2015 (up from #78 in 2014), the 42-year old entrepreneur has a net-worth of some $7.9 billion, much of which comes from Leshi TV, one of China’s most popular online video sites. Previous successes have included Sinotel, a wireless telecom company which went public in Singapore in 2008 and helped rocket him to fame.
“While I am personally backing FF, there is also a diverse funding strategy to help us fully realize our mission and vision,” the letter continues. “We plan to revolutionize the automobile industry by creating an integrated, intelligent mobility system that protects the earth and improves the living environment of mankind, so that everyone can breathe clean air and enjoy a seamlessly connected lifestyle.”
Jia also explained that while the company has been operating in stealth thus far, it already owns and operates a technology headquarters in Silicon Valley as well as a research and development centre in Los Angeles. Other offices in Dusseldorf, Germany and Beijing, China, outline the company’s grand plans for the future — and what we presume is a desire to chase down Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] in the electric car marketplace.
As we’ve explained in recent articles however, FF might not just be interested in challenging Tesla Motors in the electric car marketplace. Indeed, it seems to be looking to change the way we own and operate cars too, leveraging the Internet of Things and autonomous driving technology to bring fully-automated car sharing to the world.
While FF itself hasn’t disclosed any plans relating to this, Sampson hinted in a recent interview that FF’s vehicles would have to meet the needs of those who “are considering not even having a car.” Add to that the fact that Jia’s Leshi TV said it would buy a 70 percent stake in Chinese Uber competitor Yidao Yongche, and that particular theory starts to make a whole lot more sense.
But while we’re still hearing snippets of information, we’re unlikely to hear anything concrete until next month, when FF will unveil its first car at a gala event at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
And as we’ve just RSVPed, we’ll be sure to cover that event for you live here at TransportEvolved.
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