Faraday rumored to be looking at Silver State

Nevadans should know in a week or so whether nascent automaker Faraday will build its factory in Southern Nevada.

The company, funded by a Chinese billionaire, announced last week what has been rumored and reported for months — that it was planning a $1 billion plant in the U.S. to build a new generation of “forward looking and fully-connected electric vehicles” — a challenge to Tesla which currently sells the only production model all-electric car.

The company website, www.faradayfuture.com, posted a notice Nov. 5 it would announce the location of that plant “in the coming weeks.” According to Bloomberg Business, the company is considering locations in California, Georgia, Louisiana and Nevada.

Steve Hill, director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, has been negotiating with Faraday for months on not only location but the types and size of tax breaks and other things the company would demand in trade for building that manufacturing plant in Nevada.

Those tax breaks and other pieces of the deal would undoubtedly require a special session of the Nevada Legislature, just as the Tesla deal did in September 2014.

Legislative leadership has been advised to prepare for a special session if Nevada is chosen.

Word is the announcement could come as soon as this week.

The total tax breaks received by Tesla are estimated at $1.1 billion in trade for building the huge battery factory at Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center (TRIC) 15 miles east of Reno. A similar package would likely be offered to Faraday.

Although nearly all the talk has been about a North Las Vegas factory, TRIC would undoubtedly be glad to provide the company a home. And TRIC already has both infrastructure and rail service in place.

The company has been intensely secretive about its plans, make-up and even its management team, but bits and pieces have leaked out over time in a number of different publications.

Company officials told Fortune Magazine recently they have 400 employees “despite not having a single product to sell,” and declined to identify the CEO of the company.

Documents obtained by Fortune Magazine indicated the company was owned by LeTV, the “Netflix of China,” founded by Jia Yueting.

Bizapedia.com says the Faraday Future filed as a California corporation May 8, 2014. The company website listed its address as 18455 S. Figueroa St. in Gardena, Calif., which was sold to LeTV in 2014.

The website also lists a half-dozen executives including Nick Sampson, former director of Vehicles and Chassis Engineering at Tesla, as senior vice president. He also has worked as a top executive at Lotus and Jaguar.

Other ex-Tesla executives listed as Faraday employees include vice president of global manufacturing Dag Reckhorn, human resources director Alan Cherry and supply chain vice president Tom Wessner. The final name on the list is Richard Kim, a former lead designer at BMW.

The company site says it’s planning “a range of 100 percent electric vehicles that offer intelligent, seamless connectivity to the outside world.” It’s reportedly planning a line of seven different models and say it intend to have the first on the road in 2017.

The editors of Road & Track magazine questioned whether that was possible, describing the claim as “at best, outrageously optimistic.”

“But, with lots of auto industry expertise and seemingly plenty of cash at its disposal, perhaps Faraday Future can be the upstart to give Tesla a run for its battery powered money,” the magazine’s analysis concluded.

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