Faraday Future completes first preproduction FF 91 electric SUV

A leaked internal email promises a celebratory event at the factory for the high-powered crossover on Tuesday.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
3 min read

After a fitful start, Faraday Future's FF 91 appears to be coming together -- literally. In late July, we learned that the company had finished the first body-in-white raw chassis for its electric SUV at its new assembly plant in Hanford, California. At that time, Faraday Future ambitiously said it hoped to deliver customer cars beginning in December. Now, a leaked internal email from the company's CEO appears to confirm that the startup automaker's timetable is still on track.

According to a congratulatory email sent on Monday from "CEO Office" to the Faraday Future team, the first FF 91 preproduction vehicle has been completed, and a ceremony will be held to mark the occasion on Tuesday. The email from CEO Jia Yueting reads:

"We did it! FF engineers validated the first fully-functioning FF 91 Pre-Production vehicle and worked around the clock to make this happen. We are now one step closer to disrupting the century year old (sic) automotive industry with the introduction of a 'New Species'."

When contacted by Roadshow for comment, a company spokesperson would only confirm the authenticity of the email.

Faraday Future internal email
Enlarge Image
Faraday Future internal email

A leaked internal memo from Faraday Future confirms the first preproduction FF 91 EV has been completed. (Click to enlarge).

Screenshot by Chris Paukert/CNET

The ambitious startup automaker first showed its FF 91 prototype, a sleek five-door crossover SUV tipped to have 1,050 horsepower and scintillating performance, at CES in 2017. Indeed, we at Roadshow have already been given an early ride in a prototype.

However, the road to production for the Chinese-backed EV has been a rocky one, including various high-profile struggles that involved abandoning plans for a new billion-dollar factory in Las Vegas, as well as lawsuits alleging questionable financial dealings and misconduct by former high-ranking executives.

In June, the company announced a $2-billion lifeline from a Chinese real estate conglomerate, Evergrande Group, had been secured in exchange for a 45 percent stake in the company, and since then, the company seems to have found substantial new momentum.

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Faraday Future is one of a sizable crop of Chinese-backed electric car startups, but its FF 91 seems markedly more ambitious -- and promising -- than most. From its claimed 0 to 60 miles per hour time of just 2.39 seconds and range of 378 miles, to its high levels of automated driving and connectivity, the FF 91 could be a game changer in the world of high-dollar EVs. The FF 91 is expected to carry a starting price of nearly $300,000, which would put it in a different league than the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace, ostensibly its two closest rivals.

Despite the promise of extraordinary performance, Faraday Future will likely sell its all-wheel drive SUV as much on its connected- and automated virtues as its outright dynamic performance. The CEO's internal email closes, "We believe it will put the industry and users around the globe on notice, and they will soon reap the benefits of the 'third internet-living space' you all worked so hard to create."

According to the email, the completion of the first preproduction FF 91 will be celebrated at a ceremony with a "small internal audience" in Hanford at 11 a.m. Pacific on Tuesday.