When we caught up with Faraday Future at this year’s CES conference, the electric car startup said it planned to build its first production cars by the end of 2018. Surprisingly, after a rocky three-year start, the company appears on its way to making that happen. There’s a caveat, of course.
Bolstered by a fresh influx of cash, estimated around $1.5 billion, Faraday said last week that it has a new fleet of prototypes that will soon be deployed for testing purposes. The company’s first vehicle is called the FF 91, and Faraday says it’ll have all the qualities of supposed would-be Tesla killers that’ve been pitched for years: 1,050 horsepower, for one thing, a 130 kWh battery pack.
In a brief 20 second clip, the company showed off the FF 91 prototypes circling a parking lot at its headquarters in California.
“Our growing fleet of beta cars is ready to be deployed to testing grounds for system refinement and calibration as we keep pushing FF 91 to the limit,” Faraday wrote.
There’s a few obvious points to consider, though:
Faraday hasn’t put a number on how many “production” cars it wants to make this year, but it’s aiming to get them into the hands of the first FF 91 customers. In reality, this could mean just one or two.
The company had grandiose plans to build a $1 billion factory in Nevada that collapsed due to financial issues. The company later took a lease out a facility in Hanford, California. Construction of the production line isn’t set to begin until the end of the first quarter.
While making actual production cars would make for a remarkable turnaround, the company’s CEO—former LeEco chief Jia Yueting—has been in hot water for months over financial problems linked to his former company, and Jia still has incredibly high expectations set for Faraday.
At a recent supplier’s conference, Jia said he still hopes Faraday will become one of the largest automakers in the world in short order—the kind of overly-ambitious goal that brought the company nearly to the bring of bankruptcy, as Jalopnik previously reported.
But if Faraday does get a few cars into production, and sets its sights to a lower volume target from the get-go, it’d be an impressive feat, given the company was virtually considered left for dead not even six months ago.
If the FF 91 does make it to production, it’s expected to carry a high price tag, putting it within the price range of Tesla’s Model S or X.