Manufacturing is underway on the first prototype FF 91 electric vehicle to be built by Faraday Future at its Hanford plant.
Written by John Lindt
Faraday Future is assembling its first prototype of the FF 91 electric vehicle in Hanford this week now that the startup received city approval to take occupancy of its new manufacturing plant.
FF Senior VP of Manufacturing Dag Reckhorn said, “assembly of our FF 91 prototypes in the most finished part of the Hanford site is a real step forward.”
The company is working to speed the building of its first “pre-production” car made in Kings County, with its completion possible soon. Meanwhile, the plant is a beehive of construction and equipment installation activity.
All initial construction and safety checks at the remodeled, 1-million-square-foot plant were given the green light by city inspectors as of July 16 following extensive upgrades and investment in the existing site.
At a July 16 VIP event in Hanford, Faraday Future founder and CEO Jia Yueting marked the successful awarding of the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy by the city to achieve full production at the Hanford factory.
Also on hand for a facility tour was state Sen. Andy Vidak and Hanford Mayor David Ayers.
Getting the temporary permit for the Hanford site is the latest in a series of significant milestones for the company, which holding to the ambitious schedule for start of regular production for FF’s first product, the FF 91, by the end of this year.
The lease for the 1-million-square-foot site, the former Pirelli Tire plant, was signed in August 2017, with major cleanup and infrastructural preparation continuing through early June 2018, when the building permit was granted and Los Angeles-based construction firm Bernards signed on to lead the project.
The occupancy permit is the first step in final approval required from a municipality’s building and safety inspectors before a new occupant can fully take over a site or structure, move in and start their intended activities full-time as a running business. The schedule for reaching this goal in Hanford for FF and the Bernards construction crew has been an ambitious one.
Mayor Ayers said he has seen the prototype being assembled in Hanford as the company plans for a full assembly line of production cars underway by the end of the year.
“I cannot speak more highly of the appreciation we feel here in Hanford to have been chosen as the community in which Faraday Future will produce the world’s most advanced automobile. The commitment Faraday Future has made to Hanford is matched only by Hanford’s commitment to the company. We anticipate a long and mutually-beneficial relationship.”
Ayers said so far employees at the Hanford plant “are high-tech specialists from all over the world,” many now looking for homes in the Hanford area. He expects plenty of local hires to follow.
“Workers now are construction, engineering and technical people” said company spokesman John Schilling. “Like the whole operation — it’s phased and rapidly ramping up.”
Faraday Future CEO Jia said: “The Hanford location is ideal for both Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area for deliveries, among other benefits. City officials and the people of Hanford have been so collaborative, and FF is pleased to bring many skilled jobs and added revenue to the thriving agricultural center of California. The talent here close at hand is impressive.
The demanding process will be worth it, said company officials, with FF Hanford creating between 1,000 and 1,300 new jobs in the Central Valley when it reaches full operating capacity.
“It is exciting for me as an entrepreneur to begin with this small step in building my dream of creating the next-generation mobility products that will change the way people view transportation,” Jia continued.
Following the initial temporary occupancy, and as all aspects of construction and prototype building move ahead, FF Hanford is applying for a Conditional Certificate of Occupancy and then the final Certificate of Occupancy for the first FF 91s.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Board is expected to issue Authority to Construct permits for the installation of the equipment associated with phase II of the electric vehicle manufacturing and assembly plant as well.
Spokesman Schilling said a key issue at the remodeled plant will be to adequately cool the massive facility, noting the need to not only keep people cool but also chill the sophisticated equipment and electronics that are needed to make the high-tech machines.
FF 91 is an all-purpose, fully connected electric vehicle with estimated 0-60 mph acceleration below three seconds and an expected range of 300-plus miles.
“This intelligent robotic vehicle is a 3rd internet living space and the embodiment of FF’s vision to create a shared mobility ecosystem that empowers people to move, connect, breathe, and live freely,” Schilling said.
In his book “The Third Wave: A Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future,” AOL co-founder Steve Case hypothesizes about the “internet of everything,” or the belief that every aspect of our lives will rely on internet connectivity.