If there’s one thing that the state of Nevada has wanted the world to know in recent years, it’s that it wholeheartedly supports the future of the automotive industry.
From its supportive attitude towards autonomous drive vehicles to the tax deals it offered Californian automaker Tesla Motors in exchange for building its first gigafactory facility north of Reno, the state has a positive track record for supporting the advancement of the modern automotive industry.
And just before the weekend at a special session, the Nevada State legislature approved a brand-new set of incentives designed to ensure that Chinese-backed startup Faraday Futures (or FF as it prefers to be known) chooses the APEX Industrial Park in Clark County as the site of its first electric car production facility.
As we reported earlier this month, the Apex Industrial Park, situated just a short drive north of the famous Las Vegas strip, had been earmarked by FF as the chosen site for a $1 billion production facility where it had hoped it would build its first production electric car. But while the enigmatic startup — which has yet to even showcase its first electric vehicle or reveal who its CEO is — had shown an interest in the APEX Industrial Park as its top pick, the final deal over its factory was waiting on the proposed tax incentives, abatement and infrastructure improvements promised it by Nevada lawmakers.
Now with that package of measures — worth an estimated $335 million — approved, FF’s chosen production facility is pretty much a done deal.
Talking earlier this month at a special press conference announcing FF’s chosen Nevada site, Nevada Governor Sandoval detailed that the package would include an investment from the state’s Department for Transport designed to widen the road and add a new off-ramp and flyover to the APEX Industrial Park. Additionally, the package includes provision for the building of a new rail park next to the facility, making it possible to bring raw materials and goods in and out of the APEX Industrial Park without having to rely solely on the road network.
FF, which will unveil its car at a gala press event in two weeks’ time at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is backed in part by Chinese Internet billionaire Jia Yueting. Worth an estimated $7.9 billion, he is believed to be personally investing much of the $1 billion dollars needed to build and equip FF’s first production facility. The identity of the rest of FF’s investors — if there even are any — are shrouded in as much mystery as the car and its board of directors.
If we had to guess, we’d suggest that FF gave Nevada lawmakers something of a sneak peak at both its first production electric car and its forward-looking business plan before the $335 million in packages was approved. At least, we’d hope so, especially given so little is known about the company in the public domain.
It’s worth noting however that while little is known publicly, FF already has some pretty big names associated with its brand. Its staff includes former Tesla executives, as well as designers, engineers and drivetrain specialists from every major automaker we can think of. Moreover, the company already has a technology headquarters in Silicon Valley, a research and development center in Los Angeles, and regional offices in Dusseldorf, Germany and Beijing China.
By the time the FF production facility is constructed, it is expected that it will bring 4,500 jobs to the area, many of whom will have completed training at a new college course being sponsored by FF specifically for the purpose of training the local workforce to build its electric cars. And that’s before the 3,000 construction jobs that will be created during its construction and the 9,000 so-called ‘indirect’ jobs in the local community servicing the APEX Industrial Park.
The net effect, says FF, will be an $85 billion boost to the local economy.
We’ll find out more about the enigmatic FF and its high-tech, connected electric car next month at CES. In the meantime, we’re curious as to what you think about the deal. Was the approval of the $335 million package a good thing for the State of Nevada? Are you worried that too much has been approved with too little track record? And do you feel that Nevada has what it takes to steal Detroit’s thunder as the new heart of the automotive world in North America?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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