Faraday Future, the troubled electric car startup, insists it is actually going to start building its proposed $1 billion factory in North Las Vegas, over six months after construction was halted amid the company’s ongoing financial woes. In a statement, the company says it has entered a competitive bidding process, soliciting five bids from “top US and international contractors.” This comes after reports that FF was $21 million behind in payments to AECOM, the global construction firm originally responsible for the factory.
“The manufacturing project is indeed a massive and important one and we’ll need to proceed one step at a time with this multi-stage manufacturing strategy,” a spokesperson told The Verge. She also called recent reports that the Nevada factory has been seriously downsized, from 3 million square feet to just 650,000 square feet “inaccurate.”
That’s because FF is drawing a distinction between “Phase 2 of Stage 1” to construct a smaller facility so the company can begin production of its first vehicle, the FF91, “as soon as possible,” and “Stage 2” of the manufacturing project, which involves the construction of a 3-million-square-foot facility. However, there is no timetable for Stage 2.
Some Nevada officials remain skeptical of FF’s promises, given the company’s history of putting on a lavish show to distract from its internal chaos. “Their story changes,” Nevada State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, a vocal critic of FF’s tax abatement deal with the state, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Schwartz said he would warn any company considering working with FF to reconsider the deal. “These guys have a pretty poor payment record.”
Many of the details of FF’s $215 million tax incentive deal with Nevada remains confidential, according to Jalopnik. That includes financial statements the company provided to the Nevada governor’s office that outline FF’s capitalization plan.
Questions have continued to swirl around FF in the weeks since the company unveiled the FF91 at CES last month. In a recent interview, FF’s main investor Jia Yueting seemed to suggest that he has yet to secure the financing to begin construction on FF’s factory, as well as production of the FF91. “Everything is ready, and we are eyeing funding results now,” Jia told YicaiGlobal. “Whether funding is in place or not will determine the progress of the entire plant and its construction.”
Clarification: A previous version of this story stated that “Stage 2” of the manufacturing project would consist of building a 1 million square foot facility. That is incorrect: the facility will be 3 million square feet. This was based on a typo in a statement from an FF spokesperson.