Faraday Future FF91 first ride: Definitely not fully baked
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF.—In a parking lot next to Peter Hay Hill sat two square-ish, blobby vehicles. They weren’t attractive, and they seemed both inordinately squat and huge, but there were plenty of looky-loos who wanted to check them out. One vehicle was a static “show car,” and when a man in pink pants and a polo shirt with a popped collar tried to find a way to open a door, a product specialist flapped him away. Truthfully, even if you could figure out a way to open the doors, there weren’t any handles to grab.
Plenty of people milled down the hill from where the more established automakers had taken up residence to stop and gawk at the pair of FF91 pre-production vehicles, one giving rides around the block in Pebble Beach traffic—mixing with Koeniseggs, McLarens, and Ferraris—and the other hulking across two parking spots, with the doors on the passenger side open to passers-by.
The weirdly shaped vehicle stood out in a sea of low-slung supercars crawling all over the bucolic, fog-shrouded Pebble Beach peninsula. The color of both the display and test vehicles was white, so they looked like refrigerators in a sea of praying mantises. I waited while another journalist took a ride around the block in the mobile pre-production FF91, the first and only vehicle from beleaguered California startup Faraday Future.
Riding along in the FF91
When it was my turn to hop in, the suicide doors swung open and the driver offered to let me sit in the back, where there was a pair of Barca-lounge-style seats in various states of repose.
The rear passenger-side seat was bent sharply forward, while the one behind the driver was nearly flat. I opted for the front passenger seat, where a wide touchscreen sat attached to the dash and showed off various streaming services you could presumably watch on the short drive around the block surrounding the Lodge at Pebble Beach.
At the center of the dash sat another large vertical touchscreen. Here, the driver and passenger can control everything in the vehicle. The driver let me reset the rear seats to more comfortable and normal positions using this main touchscreen since there are no seat controls in the rear or the front.
None of the controls worked, and a friend who came along with me on the ride was forced to sit with her knees nearly touching her chest in the forward-folded seat without the seatbelt buckled because the latch was buried somewhere between the armrest and the seat. The rear passenger seat on the driver’s side was also unresponsive when I tried to make it more upright, so the specialist who tagged along with us lounged in a more horizontal position. It was comical and bizarre.
As we got underway, pulling out behind a golf cart making its way to the Lodge, the FF91’s ride was smooth but unremarkable. The driver suggested that I lower the wide rear screen for the rear passengers, using the main vertical touchscreen at the center of the dash. Across the top of the infotainment screen, you have options for Quick, Doors, Energy, Lights, and Settings. I chose Quick, then found the toggle for the rear seat display. A screen the width of the roof of the vehicle dropped down jerkily from the ceiling, getting partially stuck about three-quarters of the way down. It finally lowered the whole way after a moment, and the driver quickly raised it back up.
Once we got outside of the Lodge grounds and turned into traffic, the driver offered to “punch it” to show off the vehicle’s power, but from the passenger seat, the shot of acceleration was underwhelming. The vehicle felt heavy and slow, especially considering that Faraday says the car has 1050 hp (783 kW) and does 0–60 mph in 2.39 seconds. Faraday spokespeople also said that the FF91 will get an EPA-rated range of around 350–400 miles (563–643 km) but wouldn’t disclose any information about their battery or battery partner at the event.
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