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Faraday Future 'breaks ground' on $1 billion Nevada factory

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Electric car company Faraday Future held a groundbreaking ceremony for its $1 billion manufacturing facility outside Las Vegas this afternoon, attended by Nevada governor Brian Sandoval, North Las Vegas mayor John Lee, and a host of other officials. There wasn't any actual "ground" broken, though, really — Faraday still needs to grade the land, which it says it will do "soon."

Faraday Future's business strategy is still a little unclear: it has hired hundreds of people into its southern California headquarters, prominently poaching BMW designer Richard Kim and Tesla engineer Nick Sampson, and is being funded by China's LeEco media conglomerate (which is also working with Aston Martin). But beyond a vague notion that Faraday wants to make autonomous vehicles and use a flexible chassis that can support multiple vehicle types, there's not much to go on. The company has suggested that it may operate under some sort of subscription model, where users could call up different kinds of self-driving EVs depending on their needs.

And Faraday's bizarre CES event this year — its first big, splashy press conference — only yielded a fanciful supercar concept that doesn't appear to have any basis in reality.

This puts considerable pressure on the startup to show that it means business, particularly in light of Nevada's big bet: Faraday is building in Nevada to capitalize on tax incentives, just as Tesla is doing with the Gigafactory. Faraday's VP of Global Manufacturing Dag Reckhorn says that they are "moving extremely quickly for a project of this size" — a 3 million square-foot factory on 900 acres that the company claims will bring 4,300 jobs to the region over a decade — with plans to build in just two years instead of the normal four.

Next, Faraday Future will need to shed some light on its production plans. Without a functioning factory, the company's first vehicle is at least two years out, assuming everything goes according to plan.