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Tesla-Rival Faraday Future is Pretty Much Dead
20170710 Jack Crosbie
Faraday Future, the fantastical electric car startup that launched with great fanfare at the beginning of 2016 and set its sights on the clean-car throne of Elon Musk, fell even further from its goal or any kind of profitable business model today, when it was forced to shut down construction of its massive $1 billion factory in Southern Nevada.
On Monday, the Nevada Independent reported that Faraday Future would “put a hold” on its plans to build a car-producing plant at the Apex site in North Las Vegas. The company says it will look for a plan B, but after two years with little actual progress toward producing cars to show, things do not look good for Faraday.
“We have decided to put a hold on our factory at the Apex site in North Las Vegas. We remain committed to the Apex site in Las Vegas for long-term vehicle manufacturing,” Stefan Krause, who’s been Faraday Future’s chief financial officer for the past four months, said in a statement to the Independent. “We at Faraday Future are significantly shifting our business strategy to position the company as the leader in user-ship personal mobility — a vehicle usage model that reimagines the way users access mobility. As a result of this shift in direction, we are in the final stages of confirming a new manufacturing facility that presents a faster path to start-of-production and aligns with future strategic options.”
A rendering of what the plant was supposed to look like.
In some ways, it’s a shame, because Faraday’s vehicle could have actually been a viable option in the electric car market. Self-driving prototypes were spotted shadowing Teslas in Southern California, and the company has gleefully showed off its admittedly pretty slick demo car at CES and other events. But the company’s financial woes seem to have eaten it alive — a series of lawsuits, employee departures, and the financial fall of its primary investor all held the company back. As TechCruch notes, FF already canceled plans to build another factory in California in March, and now that the Las Vegas plant isn’t happening, it’s unclear where the company will actually build its vehicles.
They looked so hopeful then.
When announced, Faraday’s plant was celebrated throughout the state. It promised to bring in 13,000 jobs and revitalize other local businesses. The government loved it, giving the company a $335 million incentive package to build the facility there. One county commissioner, Steve Sisolak (a gubernatorial hopeful in 2018) hung a golden shovel on his wall after the ceremonial groundbreaking. “That shovel is coming down this morning,” he told the Independent, and other lawmakers are rushing to say that the state won’t take a financial hit from the plans falling through (the incentive package was mostly in tax abatements, which Faraday is now being asked to withdraw from).
It’s possible that the company could scale down massively and come up with a reasonable plan to produce its vehicle, but at this point, that seems unlikely.
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