Faraday Future has released images of a ‘production-intent’ version of its first electric vehicle and claims production of the FF 91 Luxury EV is set to go ahead as planned later this year.
The California-based carmaker is celebrating what it calls ‘Milestone #4’ of FF 91’s development with its latest unveil. This follows equipping the company’s Hanford-based manufacturing facility (#1), obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy last November (#2), and the start of construction of the site’s body and paint shops, warehouse and vehicle assembly area in December last year ahead of pre-production (#3).
Further production-intent examples of the FF 91 – designed and built in California – are expected to be completed in the coming months ahead of a period of vehicle testing and validation in the US, as well as “final certification.” Two more milestones, both of which involve further construction at Hanford, need to be checked off before production begins during the latter part of the summer.
While opting against specifying technical details of the FF 91, which, at one stage, was set to feature a “multi-motor setup” producing 1,050 hp, FF did explain that “production-specification components” had now been installed to the latest mule.
“Building the first production-intent vehicle at the Hanford plant is an important step towards reaching the start of production in Q3,” FF VP of manufacturing Matt Tall explains in an official statement. “This iteration is the closest to the FF 91 production model we’ve seen to-date. The FF 91 is expected to be the first ultra-luxury EV to reach the market, with a unique driver and passenger experience.”
This marks the latest step in what has been a long development process for the FF 91. Founded in California in 2014, Faraday Future made its first big splash in April 2016 with its debut of the FFZERO1 at China’s Asian Auto Show. The “high-performance” concept was built atop FF’s Variable Platform Architecture (VPA), showcased “UFO lines” as part of its aggressive design, and featured an electric motor on each wheel that, if put into limited production, could collectively produce “more than 1,000 hp” and a 0-100 km/h time of “under three seconds.”
Attention duly received, focus then turned to the California marque’s first production model – the FF ‘nine one’ luxury EV – which debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2017. Also built on FF’s VPA base, the FF 91 was said to combined “supercar performance” – hence the 783 kW / 1,050 peak horsepower – “precise handling”, and “the comfort of an ultra-luxury passenger vehicle”, alongside an estimated range of “over 700 km” courtesy of “the world’s highest energy density battery” (130 kWh). Plans were quickly put in place for the FF 91 to be “on the road by the end of 2018”, with a beta version of the EV even being readied for a run on the famous Pikes Peak International Hillclimb that June. FF signed the lease for its then-new manufacturing plant in Hanford that August.
Crippling financial issues led to inevitable delays, however, and following FF founder Jia Yueting declaring bankruptcy midway through 2019, Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, the vice president behind BMW’s i8 project, was brought in as the new CEO in September 2019. Two months later, FF revealed a “third internet” interior concept for the FF 91 – essentially an uber luxurious cabin with connectivity options up the wazoo – signalling that development of the EV was underway once again. In spite of further delays brought about the pandemic, production was said to be “proceeding as planned” in April 2020, with FF signing partnership deals with the likes of electronics giant Philips, immersion cooling fluids specialist Mivolt, and, tellingly, Geely, in late 2020 and early 2021. By March 2021, the first FF 91 prototype was finally undergoing winter testing in Michigan.