Electric Car Company Farady Hopes for Future on Mare Island

July 14, 2016 GMT

Faraday Future officials want to hit the ground running, assuming they reach an agreement with the city of Vallejo over the building of a manufacturing and delivery plant on north Mare Island for their new generation of electric cars.

Representatives of the Los Angeles-based firm made a presentation to members of the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Committee and others on Wednesday, during which Catherine Steinmetz, Faraday’s project manager, said they hope to have reached an agreement by November and be producing cars a year later.

Faraday Future’s philosophy is not to let moss grow under their feet about anything, Steinmetz said.

“We move quickly,” she said. “We make a decision, implement it and do it fast.”

The firm has a vision encompassing more than an electric car manufacturing company; “creating the future from a new perspective,” she said. This encompasses more than just how the cars are made and how they run, but also “alternative ownership models,” which company officials believe will be needed as the world continues changing.

Faraday Future has 1,150 employees worldwide now, including 850 at the Los Angeles headquarters; a former Nissan campus. These include a team of experts recruited from all sorts of other, established auto makers. Steinmetz came to Faraday from Tesla Motors, she said. The Los Angeles site is a research and design center “with all functions under one roof for nimble collaboration,” according to the presentation.

Company officials evaluated some 200 sites across the United States to find the best places to build their cars, and settled on Las Vegas and Vallejo, Steinmetz said.

Ground has already broken on the Las Vegas facility, and the plan is for the Vallejo facility to be the customer delivery and experience center for the Bay Area region for cars made there even before the Mare Island manufacturing plant is up and running, she said.

This will be going on even as design engineers work on what will be built here. The Mare Island facility will include a driving track, where people taking delivery of or considering buying one of the company’s vehicles, can get a behind-the-wheel idea of how it handles.

Faraday Future has applied for 194 patents so far, and three have already been received, she said.

The car being devised uses unique technology, including a battery pack that runs the entire length of the vehicle. Everything is done in modules, with a modular battery, modular chassis and a modular power train, allowing for easier design changes, Steinmetz said.

Steinmetz said company officials are “really excited” about the project under way in Las Vegas, and projected the image of an artist’s rendering of the site, which will comprise 900 acres and 4,500 jobs at build-out. Officials also expect 9,000 indirect jobs to be produced, along with an $85 billion impact to the community over 20 years.

The Mare Island facility would comprise some 156 acres and a 1.2 million square foot plant. Its maximum output is still being calculated, Steinmetz said.

Officials selected Mare Island for several reasons, including its “accessible and capable workforce, access to distribution channels, its proximity to Silicon Valley and the significance of California being the EV capital of the U.S.,” she said.

Additional investment in the Vallejo community, assuming a deal is reached, will include job training -- with the company partnering with schools and colleges to help create a job-ready workforce; land revitalization and creating a new revenue stream for local businesses, she said.

Even the island’s lack of modern infrastructure is a positive to Faraday, giving the firm flexibility it wouldn’t otherwise have, if it had to conform to existing infrastructure parameters, Steinmetz said.

Steinmetz even went into how Faraday Future treats its employees.

“There’s a local hiring priority,” she said. “There are competitive wages and benefits. It’s a nice place to work, and the company cares about it’s employees, and we want to spread that to all our locations.”

Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824. ------ (c)2016 Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.) Visit Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.) at www.timesheraldonline.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. AMX-2016-07-14T00:01:00-04:00