Faraday Future people have been telling us since day one that they move fast, that they are investing a billion dollars into a new company to revolutionize transportation, that they are going to build a factory in Las Vegas … all building up to the big reveal at CES in January. What went down at CES was completely the opposite of what we were expecting.
I was expecting to see a car ready for the masses … something that would scale and change the world. But that didn’t happen at CES. Instead, Faraday Future showed us the batmobile incarnate — compared to what we, the EV enthusiasts were looking for, it was a failure. It won’t bring us the electric, autonomous, luxurious future we were looking for … but FF knew that.
What Faraday Future was showing us at CES was the vision for the future. It’s a car that embodies the tech, the design cues, the race-inspired construction, the electric drive and tight suspension that represented the pinnacle of what was possible. The FFzero1 was the stake in the ground, the tip of the spear that is Faraday Future. From there, FF would work backwards to a practical car … but that’s never what the FFzero1 was supposed to be.
While it remains to be seen what the practical, production-ready Faraday Future car turns out to be, they are doing what they said — moving fast — and today is the next step in the journey as they break ground on the factory that has been in the works for the last few months. Months, people. It’s worth reflecting on the fact that Faraday Future is less than 2 years old. In that time, it has brought on world-class talent in its Los Angeles headquarter, secured $1 billion in committed funding, locked in a sizeable incentive package from the state of Nevada, and is now actually starting work on the factory of the future just outside Las Vegas.
The new factory will cost $1 billion, which buys FF a 3-million-square-foot facility on the 900-acre property. As committed to the State of Nevada, the site will ramp up to a total staffing of 4,500 over the next 10 years, bringing cash back into the local economy in wages and, obviously, tax dollars.
Speaking of the new facility and progress made to date, Global Vice President of Manufacturing at Faraday Future Dag Reckhorn said:
“We are moving extremely quickly for a project of this size. Our aim is to complete a program that would normally take four years and do it in half the time, while still doing it right.”
As the new factory grows, Faraday will start manufacturing the cutting-edge, high-tech electric Faraday Future cars. What they will look like, we have no idea at this point. Though, the team has been tossing out teasers … leading up to CES (which led to the hype and expectation of a full production-ready EV at the show), at CES in the Variable Platform Architecture video, and most recently at Formula E, with the teaser silhouette hanging in the back of the display tent like the smile of the cheshire cat.
The facility will follow right in line with the high-tech themes of the FFzero1, embracing environmentally friendly construction practices and utilizing high-efficiency renewable materials where possible.
On the energy front, the facility will take advantage of LED lighting and will eventually be powered by a combination of wind, solar, and geothermal power. It is going to be interesting to see how FF handles the less-than-friendly attitude its local utility has towards grid-tied solar … but that’s a battle for the future and one it will likely get help on from an unlikely ally — Tesla.
Tesla will have to cross that bridge much sooner than FF, as the Gigafactory has similarly aggressive renewable energy goals, with a large percent of the power forecasted to come from rooftop solar. Both companies will have the advantage of high-volume battery production that can be used for onsite storage in the event that grid-tied solar loses attractiveness due to less-than-ideal feed-in credits.
The exterior of the facility embodies the FF spirit, with many of the same high-tech, efficient, mysterious styling cues we saw in the FFzero1, while at the same time, serving very functional roles.
Inside the facility, FF aims to create an inclusive, flexible, adaptable structure that not only speaks to core values of Faraday Future, but that is key to the manufacturing plan for the company. Building a flexible plant will provide the right support for a dynamic team that can respond to changing needs as the overall design and focus of the company shifts and evolves between models, technologies, and vehicle types — as promised in the Faraday Future VPS Teaser at CES.
While breaking actual ground at an actual factory is a monumental step and extremely exciting for Faraday Future — and the entire electric vehicle industry — it is by no means a guarantee of success. If anything, this is but the first big step in a series of giant hurdles for the young company. Dreaming up a bold future, vision-casting what mobility could look like, and even building a concept car are but baby steps compared to the challenge that lays ahead for Faraday Future.
But the good news is, the Faraday Future edge walkers are taking that step and moving boldly forward into the future that they have envisioned.
Here’s a live feed of the factory press conference (in progress as we publish):
Check out the latest details on FaradayFuture.com | Factory image courtesy Faraday Future
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