Faraday Future may follow rival Tesla Motors’ lead by building an auto factory in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The electric car startup has been in discussions with Vallejo officials to build a factory on the former Mare Island naval base near the coast of San Francisco. The Vallejo City Council will vote on whether to enter exclusive negotiations with Faraday Future on May 31.
Mare Island is a peninsula within Vallejo offering 157 acres on the island’s northeastern end. It’s sandwiched between the Mare Island Causeway Bridge and Highway 37. The city has been trying to redevelop the base since it closed in 1996.
“The built-in employment base we have here in Vallejo is a perfect fit for Faraday,” said Andrea Ouse, the city’s economic development director. “This is the first step in what we hope will be a long future with Faraday.”
While Faraday Future is still in the development phase of producing its first high-end electric sports car, the FFZERO1 Concept, the Chinese company recently broke ground on its North Las Vegas factory and so far has hired about 960 people. Along with following Tesla’s lead on securing a Nevada factory, Faraday Future would also operate a Bay Area-based plant as Tesla had done by starting production in Fremont during 2010.
If Vallejo and Faraday reach agreement, the new factory would cost “hundreds of millions” of dollars, according to the company. It would also include a “customer experience” center, where people interested in the cars could test drive them and see them being made.
“Faraday Future strongly believes in the growing demand for electric vehicles and (is) confident in the success of our future products,” the company said in an email to The Chronicle. “As a result, we expect to reach maximum capacity at our Nevada factory within two to three years of opening. We are currently undergoing a site selection process for a second facility to align with our future manufacturing development plan.”
While the city knows Faraday is an unproven startup, having the discussions with the startup automaker have been very worthwhile for the city, according to a source. It could bring hundreds of jobs to the city. If the council approves, Faraday will have six months to negotiate an agreement for obtaining the site.
It will take a good deal of demolition and construction from scratch, unlike Tesla taking over GM and Toyota’s former NUMMI plant in Fremont. The city and the company have been in discussions on the plant for nearly a year. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, also known as GO-Biz, has played a big part in the process. The office had been helping Faraday scout potential factory locations; and GO-Biz also recently gave Faraday a $12.7 million tax credit to create more jobs in the state.