Next time there‘s a Tesla, North Las Vegas will be ready.
That‘s been Mayor John Lee‘s battle cry in his quest to save his recession-ravaged city.
That time might be now.
A Gardena, Calif.-based electric car manufacturer made headlines this week as the possible "next Tesla" with a 2017 launch — and multiple reports have North Las Vegas on its list of possible sites for its factory.
Speculation has been rampant about the manufacturer, Faraday Future, much of it centering on if the company is "for real" and how "serious" it is. The confusion is fueled by Faraday Future‘s secrecy — even the CEO of Faraday is unknown.
Still, some things are known about the company.
On its website, the company pays homage to Michael Faraday, father of both the electromagnetic motor and electrochemical batteries. (You can just call us FF, the company also says on its website.)
While the company hasn‘t publicly named its CEO, the website Auto Blog reported that a former Tesla executive, a BMW design manager, a GM official associated with the Chevy Volt, and the former Volvo director of interior design have signed on.
Attempts by the Review-Journal to reach Faraday officials were unsuccessful, but company spokesman Marcus Nelson told VentureBeat for a story on its website that besides Nevada, locations in Georgia, Louisiana and California are being considered. He told Venture Beat a final decision will be made in the third quarter.
Auto Blog reported the startup is currently occupying former Nissan facilities in Gardena.
Steve Hill, director of the Governor‘s Office of Economic Development, left Friday for Europe and a two-week trade mission and was unavailable for comment. Jennifer Cooper, spokeswoman for the agency, said "we are certainly excited that Nevada is being considered by the company," but added that "all discussions remain confidential."
Lee has said Tesla, which tapped Northern Nevada as the site of its gigafactory, considered North Las Vegas‘ 20,000-acre Apex Industrial Park, but in the end the city wasn‘t ready.
Apex has long suffered from what‘s been termed the "chicken and the egg problem" in terms of development. The site lacks utilities, and businesses don‘t want to set up shop without them. But it‘s hard to fund utilities without businesses in place to use them.
If Faraday Future does choose North Las Vegas, its factory will have been made possible by its chief rival.
Lee wants to designate 800 acres of Apex as an economic diversification district, and that‘s a possibility because of Tesla.
The state Legislature, when fast-tracking policy for Tesla‘s manufacturing plant in Northern Nevada, wrote in the ability for a city or county to classify an "economic diversification district" giving industries that make up this district tax breaks so long as the industries involved in the project will collectively invest $3.5 billion in Nevada within 10 years.
Adding to the momentum, the city won legislation this past session that‘s key to Apex‘s future.
A study by Robert Lang, director of the UNLV Brookings Mountain West Institute, predicted developing Apex would create 57,960 direct jobs and give state and local tax revenue a $670 million boost.