As Faraday Future prepares to debut its production model electric car next week, some are praising its technology while preparing to bury the company that promised to bring 4,500 jobs to North Las Vegas.
The Chinese-backed startup, which received $335 million in tax breaks and infrastructure improvements from the state of Nevada, has encountered several financial roadblocks.
After construction stopped on the factory last month, Faraday was the subject of media reports detailing unpaid bills, strategic confusion, and departing employees, including Ding Lei, who was seen as the No. 2 executive at the company. The headline on one story: “Behind the scenes at Faraday Future, an electric carmaker on the brink of collapse.”
Nevada state Treasurer Dan Schwartz said the recent events confirmed his longtime skepticism, adding that Faraday might be in its “final scene.”
“You had a company that had never manufactured a car building a $1 billion factory in the middle of the desert in a municipality that is financially challenged,” the first-term Republican said. “It just seemed odd and didn’t make any sense.”
North Las Vegas Assistant City Manager Ryann Juden said the city remains committed to Faraday and will participate when the company rolls out its new model at the Consumer Electronics Show.
“Faraday hasn’t even released a vehicle yet and you already have people dancing on their grave,” he said. “The reality is Faraday is a startup, so predicting two years ago the startup will fail doesn’t make you a prophet. As typical as startups are, they go through business cycles.”
Along with the debate over its financial health, the company’s engineering and technology have impressed many in the automotive world.
“The people working there are very smart and very talented, and the vehicle they are working on is very compelling,” said David Undercoffler, West Coast Bureau reporter for Automotive News. “They just don’t have the funding to build the factory and build the car.”
Dan Schwartz, Nevada state treasurer; Ryann Juden, North Las Vegas assistant city manager; David Undercoffler, Automotive News; Andrew J . Hawkins, TheVerge.com