Electric cars have fallen short of President Obama’s stated goal of having 1 million such vehicles on the road by 2015. We’re almost in 2016 and there are no more than 35,000 in the country so far. But the market is changing. EVs have become a lot more attractive – the cost is down, the mileage is up and, among Tesla’ offerings at least, these look amazing to boast. Another sign that EVs are in for a major comeback is that there’s a new player in town called Faraday Future. The company to the scene is backed by a Chinese billionaire who made a fortune on the internet (just like Elon Musk), and which now plans to open a plant near Las Vegas, Nevada.
For a company that’s about to invest $1 billion in a new 3-million square-foot factory, Faraday Future is dubiously mysterious. Not much is known about it, even thought it already has around 400 employees or so in California, some of whom were headhunted from rivals. This includes Nick Sampson, who serves as Faraday’s senior vice president and was a former director of vehicle and chassis engineering at Tesla.
One of the investors is Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, the chief executive of Leshi TV (a sort of Netflix). He’s not alone though, since “there is also a diverse funding strategy to help us fully realize our mission and vision,” Yueting says. Fortune reports that Faraday Future is operating in Silicon Valley for technology, Los Angeles for R&D, and also has offices in Duesseldorf, Germany, and Beijing. Now, in Las Vegas for manufacturing — only a couple hours drive from Tesla’s $5 billion Gigafactory where new lithium-ion batteries are already being assembled to serve as off-grid storage and the new car batteries that will allegedly make Tesla’s cars 50% cheaper.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval says the factory will create 13,000 direct and indirect jobs, $760 million in tax revenue over 20 years and $85 billion for the economy. Several states were considered by Faraday Future, but Nevada was ultimately chosen. The state will offer up to $215 million in incentives, including tax breaks and help with infrastructure.
“Nevada gave us the best overall deal,” said Dag Reckhorn, Faraday Future’s vice president of global manufacturing and a former director of manufacturing for Tesla’s Model S. “It’s still close to the West Coast, we have Highway 15. It’s good for our supply chain — getting parts in and out of the plant.”
Faraday Future claims it wants to make electric cars that are different than the rest of the offering. “Many people look at Tesla and think they’ve done it differently than the traditional auto industry — and they have,” Nick Sampson said for The Verge. “But there’s other ways and other things we can capitalize on.”
The company is allegedly working on side-projects like mobile applications, self-driving features or in-vehicle content.The first first concept car is expected t obe unveiled at the CES electronics show in Las Vegas next month. Faraday Future said it would launch its first model in 2017.