Take the following information with a golf ball-sized grain of salt. Faraday Future, the automotive startup that’s been teetering on the verge of collapse for years, says deliveries of the FF 91 will begin in December. Despite being ghost-funded by a Chinese billionaire who’s been blacklisted due to unpaid debts, losing a factory deal with the State of Nevada, witnessing a mass exodus of its staff, and accumulating heaps of debt, Faraday claims it’s ready to move forward with assembly.
You’ll have to excuse the skepticism. But the brand has burned us in the past — delivering an ambitious but incomplete prototype, loads of hype, and little else.
Saying that production is an assurance with no request for additional investment is like getting an email from a Nigerian prince who just wants you to know that he’s good on the money front and wishes you well.
Here we are, though. Faraday has been given temporary certificate of occupancy at its Hanford, California factory and intends to start shipping the all-electric FF 91 crossover later this year. According to the company’s announcement, it has only just finished the first complete body in white.
That’s still a ways to go from a completed car and the photos don’t exactly show the inside of the factory buzzing with activity. Basically, there’s a corner with some small welding bots and a lot of open space. Since we don’t trust this company any further than we can throw it, we’re wondering why it’s showcasing a body in white and a spartan assembly area instead of a completed vehicle. A completed shell and one side panel being passed around by a couple of robots isn’t exactly awe-inspiring.
Faraday Future claims the Hanford facility is brimming with cutting edge technologies like “aluminum resistant spot welding [and] cold metal transfer (CMT) welding.” Presumably, the company meant to say “resistance spot welding.” The majority of these high-end fastening concepts seem to come from Arnold Umformtechnik GmbH & Co, but the automaker is somewhat vague as to their implementation.
It also doesn’t specify anything about the vehicle. If customers are supposed to be taking ownership of these vehicles in a few months, you’d think they’d have nailed down the specs or maybe an estimate on the price. Last we heard, the EV would use a 130-kWh battery with enough juice to travel at least 378 miles on a single charge. That’d be incredibly impressive if it were even remotely true, as would the 783 kW/1,050 hp the motor(s) are supposed to produce. But we’ve heard nothing official on either. We don’t even know who is supplying the hardware.
While Faraday noted that its suppliers (whoever they are) have had to face “significant challenges,” it claims that everything has worked out in a way that will ensure the FF 91 comes to market slightly ahead of schedule.
“This is one of many big milestones ahead for FF as we enter the final stage in introducing ‘our new species,’ the FF 91 flagship. In the truest FF spirit, our teams and global partners have gone above and beyond to get to this important phase ahead of schedule,” said CEO and founder Jia Yueting. “Everything we do relies on our proven UP2U (User Planning To User) approach. FF will redefine the meaning of customization at a whole new in-depth, high-end, and personalized level — each user in the near future will have the opportunity to provide input and witness the creation of their own personal FF 91 along the bespoke production line at FF Hanford.”
Jia has a lot riding on hitting the proposed production deadline. If the vehicle isn’t mass produced by the end of 2018, China’s Evergrande Group has said he will be ousted as CEO. Thanks to a sizable investment, Evergrande is now the largest shareholder of Faraday Future, with a 45 percent stake.
[Images: Faraday Future]