CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — An electric car maker said Monday it is deserting its plan to construct a $1 billion manufacturing plant in southern Nevada eight months after suspending the project and sinking at least $120 million into it.
Faraday Future halted work on the project outside Las Vegas last November, calling the stoppage then a "temporary adjustment" that wouldn't affect plans to begin production in 2018.
Faraday Future Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause said Monday's decision to scrap the plant was due to a shift in business strategy. The Gardena, California-based company said in a statement that it will now look for an existing facility to produce its electric vehicles in California or Nevada.
The announcement came days after reports that a Shanghai court froze more than $180 million in assets belonging to one of the company's biggest backers, tech billionaire Jia Yueting. The company said that Jia's financial problems were not related to the decision.
Thousands of jobs had been anticipated to come with the construction and launch of the proposed plant on a 900-acre site at the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas.
State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, a critic of the project, blamed state officials for giving false hope that the plant "would magically create 4,500 jobs."
"The promised jobs are yet another mirage in the Southern Nevada desert," Schwartz said.
The state had pledged $335 million in incentives to the company, but had not yet spent any taxpayer money on the project, according to Steve Hill, director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development.
Hill said the company was required to invest at least $1 billion before it received the tax breaks and infrastructure improvements approved by state lawmakers in 2015.
"The state recognized both the opportunity a large manufacturing facility could provide as well as the inherent risk associated with a start-up company attempting this endeavor," Hill said in a Monday statement.