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Electric car start-up eyeing US midwest to test its self-driving vehicles

Faraday Future, a California start-up with backing from Chinese tech firm LeEco, applies for Michigan manufacturer plates

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 June, 2016, 8:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2016, 2:04pm

Electric-car start-up Faraday Future (FF) is taking steps to get its vehicle technology on the road.

Michigan officials say FF has applied for manufacturer license plates in the state. The plates allow automakers to test their vehicles on public roads.

The Detroit News last week cited Michigan's department of transportation director, Kirk Steudie, who said FF "contacted him in January about how to apply for plates to test self-driving vehicles" there.

The company said it is developing autonomous electric vehicles, but has so far declined to reveal much more than that.

And though no one outside the secretive company knows when it will put a real prototype on the road, FF said in March that mules equipped with its technology were undergoing testing in cold-weather conditions in the Midwest.

A "mule" is a decoy vehicle that automakers use to discreetly test new products on public roads. Mules often look like existing production cars, but an enthusiast with a sharp eye can usually tell the difference.

FF has had a busy year since its January debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Since then, the company has geared up for the construction of its inaugural factory in Nevada. Last week, it entered a negotiation agreement with a city in the San Francisco Bay Area where it wants to build a second factory.

It's unclear when FF will officially reveal its forthcoming vehicles, but those are probably on the way, too.

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