Faraday Future Completes First FF 91 Body-In-White
It's a major milestone for the electric-car startup.
With the clock running down, Faraday Future is steadily working toward its goal of delivering its first FF 91 electric SUV before the end of the year. The beleaguered electric-car startup just completed the first FF 91 body-in-white at its Hanford, California factory.
Body-in-white is the industry term for the bare body shell of a car. It's the basic foundation onto which all other components are added to make a complete vehicle. That Faraday can now build one is the first real sign that the company will make good on its promise of selling the FF 91 to customers. Faraday's future has always been difficult to predict.
The FF 91 was unveiled at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. Boasting a claimed 1,050 horsepower, zero-to-60 mph in 2.3 seconds, and 378-mile range, the lozenge-shaped SUV certainly drew a lot of attention. Faraday announced plans to build a new factory in North Las Vegas, Nevada, securing government incentives as part of the deal. But then things began to unravel.
Faraday has largely relied on Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting and his LeEco tech company for funding. So when LeEco's fortunes took a nosedive, so did Faraday's. The company abandoned plans for the Nevada factory, opting to repurpose an existing Pirelli tire factory in Hanford, California, instead. Many executives jumped ship, and the need to switch factory sites and secure more funding delayed the start of FF 91 production.
Fortunes have shifted over the past few months. Jia, who is now Faraday's CEO, secured a $2 billion investment. Faraday was also able to get the Hanford factory up and running in a relatively short period of time. Initial preparation work started in March, and the first equipment was installed in June. However, it's unclear how quickly Faraday will be able to ramp up production beyond just one body shell.
Faraday said it will deliver the first cars to customers in December. It's possible that Faraday will only deliver a handful of cars at first and ramp up production later, as Tesla has done with vehicle launches in the past. Assuming FF 91s finally make it into customer hands, the next question will be whether Faraday's creation can stand up to the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace, and forthcoming Audi e-tron electric SUVs.
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