Among the small fleet of FF 91 prototypes that Faraday Future brought to the CES 2017 show, one of them had functioning exterior lighting. And that’s not all it had...
SPINNER HUBCAPS, baby! Actually, the proper term might be “floaters”, seeing as they are clearly weighted to keep the glowing FF logo upright. Look closely when the car moves, and you can see the logos wiggle a little as they maintain their orientation.
Not all FF 91s have this feature, though. The white front / black rear one in the parking lot (“BETA 01ADAS”, 37min in the video) didn’t. The black front / white rear driving demonstrator (“BETA 02PERF”, 54min in the video) didn’t.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the differences between Faraday Future’s FF 91 prototypes. As the names suggest, each car appears to be purpose-built to demonstrate specific attributes that a complete FF 91 would have.
First to be revealed at CES 2017 was BETA 01ADAS. This car showcases FF’s driverless technology by maneuvering around a parking lot with no one inside.
As some have pointed out, though the demonstration took place at night, the car curiously had no functional headlamps or tail-lamps. This would become even more strange when we later see a FF 91 with lights that DO work.
Despite the claim that the FF 91 has four-wheel steering, BETA 01ADAS doesn’t appear to have used it during its parking demo. We even saw it make a mid-parking correction after not lining itself up properly to slide into its target spot. Is this because FF’s 3.5° of rear wheel angle is harder to see than GM’s Quadrasteer (up to 15°)? Or could it be that FF only bothered to put 4WS on BETA 02PERF?
The second FF 91 prototype, BETA 02PERF, focuses on -you guessed it- driving performance. The is the car seen rocket across the stage to show off its acceleration prowess. It’s also the one used to take journalists for a quick spin as the driver lauds the car’s dynamic abilities (including 4WS).
Like BETA 01ADAS, this car has an unfinished interior, with black plastics and pull-strap interior door handles. You’re not really supposed to see inside. As Raphael Orlove pointed out, “No pics allowed inside; the interior was gutted.”
BETA 02PERF does have some additional test equipment inside, but it’s unclear as to whether it makes up for the missing weight of the finished interior, or if there is any additional ballast to keep the car’s performance honest.
EDIT: Another prototype, spotted in this video, is named BETA 03PERF. It shares the same color scheme and stripped interior as BETA 02PERF.
And then there’s the third car, with the spinning hubcaps that the kids like. This one is far more polished than the other prototypes, and appears to have no BETA name to identify it. (How about “BETA 04SHNY”?)
We’re meant to think of this car (despite its onstage failure) as a complete FF 91. With more consistent body coloring, functional lights, and a fleshed-out interior, it’s a much more presentable show car.
But whether the entire car was functional or not, FF still felt the need to bring (at least) three distinct versions of the FF 91 to CES. We don’t know to what extent each prototype is a one-trick pony, but each car’s apparent uniqueness makes one wonder.