December 10, 2015 / 8:51 PM / 4 years ago

Chinese-backed electric car venture to build first plant in Nevada

(Reuters) - Faraday Future, an electric car venture with backing from Chinese billionaire Yeuting Jia, announced plans Thursday to invest $1 billion to build its first manufacturing facility in Las Vegas to make what it touts as “cars of the future.”

The plant is expected to create 4,500 jobs and is contingent on the approval of a $250 million incentive package by the Nevada state legislature, which would include tax abatements and tax credits.

“This is a new era for the state of Nevada,” Governor Brian Sandoval said at a press conference to announce the investment.

Sandoval said his administration estimated the plant would bring benefits to state coffers of around $760 million over the course of 20 years and would create a total of 13,000 jobs, including 3,000 in construction. He said Faraday had committed to ensuring 50 percent of the workforce would be residents of Nevada.

Dag Reckhorn, Faraday’s vice president for global manufacturing, said the plant would cover an area of 3 million square feet and be environmentally friendly, but he did not provide a timeline for its completion nor any estimates for how many cars it should produce.

“Our vision is for the future needs and expectations of the customer because we don’t feel today’s cars meet today’s needs,” Reckhorn said.

The announcement comes more than a year after Nevada’s legislature approved $1.3 billion in incentives and tax exemptions for electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc to build a $5 billion lithium-ion battery plant in the state.

These factories are key to efforts by Nevada, best known for Las Vegas’ glittering casino industry, to revitalize and diversify its economy, which was hard-hit by the mortgage meltdown and the Great Recession.

Faraday is one of several startups in China and the United States focused on building electric cars to rival Tesla’s.

In September, Beijing Electric Vehicle Co, an affiliate of government-owned BAIC Motor Corp Ltd, said it opened a technology research center in California’s Silicon Valley and is teaming with U.S. electric-car startup Atieva to develop electric vehicles for China and global markets.

State-owned Chinese automaker SAIC Motor Corp is also setting up a research facility in Silicon Valley and is developing electric and self-driving cars.

Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Leslie Adler

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