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Electric Car Maker To Open Manufacturing Plant In Hanford

 August 7,2017-
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LA-based Faraday Future will open an electric car manufacturing plant in Hanford early next year. The company announced their plans today to lease the 1 million sq/ft, former Armstrong Tire plant in the Hanford Industrial Park.

The new plant is expected to employee 100 when it opens early next year and ramp up to the 1300 employee level, over three shifts. Faraday Future says it wants to offer its new production model, FF91 to the public in late 2018, when manufacturing in Hanford should be in full swing.

The company was building a plant in Nevada but recently decided to stay in California where a move into an existing building could speed up their production plans and likely save money.

Kings EDC president John Lehn says the existence of the sprawling building in Hanford made the difference edging out two rival proposals from other companies for the site, one a marijuana grower.

It has been almost two decades since the empty building has had a major occupant after the tire maker shut down here throwing 1200 people out of work.

Faraday Future made the news recently when the high-tech electric car made it up to the top of Pikes Peak faster than rival Tesla. Their current model is said to generate 1000 horsepower.

Employees Visit Hanford
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On August 5, more than 370 Faraday Future employees and supporters voluntarily drove from Los Angeles to Hanford to begin the process of site clean-up, and embrace the company’s new manufacturing home. State of California, and City of Hanford and Kings County officials were also on-site to welcome Faraday Future to its new production facility.

“The future of zero emission production is in California,” added Panorea Avdis, Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “Faraday Future’s announcement today is another step towards realizing Governor Brown’s goal of adding one and a half million zero emission vehicles on the road by the year 2025. 

When Faraday Future achieves its goals, the State of California achieves ours, and our office will continue to assist the company’s needs to grow and expand, as we have from day one.” 

Dag Reckhorn, Faraday Future’s VP of Global Manufacturing is spearheading all strategy and execution behind the new Hanford site. 

“Our new production facility is the latest demonstration of our commitment to getting FF 91 on the road by the end of 2018,” said Reckhorn. “Despite significant head winds on the path ahead of us, we are laser-focused on that one key milestone.”

Policy Debate Continues

Clean air technology aimed to fight global warming may bring more skilled jobs to the Central Valley, considered one of the more polluted regions in California and an area arguably impacted by global warming.  High temps this summer, numerous fires, rising seawater and an influx of former tropical diseases and species are often cited as evidence.

Of course the Central Valley is ground zero for Governor Brown’s high speed rail project being built through Kings County drawing both praise for its new jobs and strong opposition here from the farm community. The project is part the state’s effort to cut reliance on petroleum-based transportation.

In nearby Porterville electric bus maker Greenpower is building a new manufacturing plant that is said to employ 150 to be completed next year. The Canadian company is riding a crest of new orders for zero emission heavy duty buses and trucks in California.

The coming of a mass market Tesla car is expanding the company network of supercharging stations including now in Kings County’s Kettleman City where a new 40-car station is being built.

No-carbon, renewable energy power projects have selected the Central Valley in recent years building what is a sea of solar panels on otherwise abandoned farmland including Kings County. Now battery storage projects are being built as well.

Encouraged by incentives the farm community and particularly dairies, the county’s number one industry, has also embraced solar power. along that other major industry here – the US Navy.

But local leaders have fought any expansion of the battle against global warming including the extension of the cap and trade program – recently passed by the legislature with a few GOP votes.

That did not include local legislator Andy Vidak who has pointed out that the cap and trade program only helps the rich.

”The state appears to be in the business of subsidizing a billionaire’s company and millionaires who want buy these boutique electric cars,” says State Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford).

Critics like Vidak offer that since 2010, California has spent $295 million on rebates to purchasers of electric cars through its Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. A 2016 Berkeley study of the program found that 83 percent having incomes over $100,000.

Supporters of these public incentives say that typically the early buyers of these high-tech devices, electric cars, solar panels or bullet trains pay high prices but with time –  they drive down development costs of the technology the way Henry Ford did.

Case in point right now is Tesla who is offering $35,000 mass market  electric car this summer instead of only a car more than  double that cost. The solar industry claims that the average cost of solar cells has gone from $76.67/watt in 1977 to just $0.26/watt after public subsidy.

Cost for batteries, used in electric cars, have fallen dramatically as well says the energy commission. That has led to an increase from 25 zero emission models offered today to manufacturer announcements of more than 70 models to be released over the next five model years.

While critics say US drivers do not want electric cars – the industry continues to moving in that direction with news the Volvo will only make electric cars and Toyota will build a $1.6 billion electric car plant somewhere in the US. Now both Britain and France said the plan to ban oil-based cars. 

Faraday Future is an American start-up technology company focused, they say, on the development of intelligent electric vehicles.  The company was established in April 2014 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. It has nearly 1000 employees.

Now some of them will be coming to Hanford where they will actually be able to afford a home but will have to get used to air conditioned living.

Now Mr Vidak will be in a tough position since the coming of the manufacturer will be good for the local economy.

EDC’s John Lehn expects local schools and colleges will partner with the company to offer training and that the region will  benefit from a high-skilled workforce living here. A cluster of electric vehicle makers in the Central Valley could draw supplier firms as well.

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 1.06.57 PMFaraday Future is named for one of the founding principles of electric motor technology known as Faraday’s law of induction.[4] Faraday’s Law is in turn named after English scientist Michael Faraday who discovered electromagnetic induction.

Their financial partners are LeEco, a Chinese consumer electronics company, led by Jia Yueting.

No doubt the new high performance cars will cost a pretty penny, said to be around $160,000 for the high end version, with the company hinting they may market the car as a rental.

Speaking of finances the company has put their LA facility up as collateral to secure loans to relocate their operation, a sign that the start-up may not be on firm ground yet following their decision to scuttle a billion dollar plant that had been proposed for La Vegas

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