Chinese-backed carmaker Faraday Future is still likely a few years away from releasing its first electric car, but the company is quickly expanding its operations and footprint.
Faraday broke ground on a factory in North Las Vegas, Nevada, earlier this year, and is reportedly looking into a second factory site in Vallejo, California. At the same time, Faraday wants to set up an outpost in Michigan to test self-driving cars.
It recently applied for three manufacturer license plates, a necessary step toward testing self-driving cars on Michigan roads, according to The Detroit News. Kirk Steudle — director of the Michigan Department of Transportation — told the paper that Faraday contacted him in January about autonomous-car testing, and subsequently applied for the plates.
Michigan is one of a handful of states that explicitly permits the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Test cars must display the special manufacturer plates, and manufacturers must show proof of Michigan no-fault insurance. They also have to pay a registration fee.
“The plates will be used to help test various FF-vehicle prototypes and features,” Faraday Future told The Detroit News in an e-mailed statement. The company often refers to itself as FF.
“We cannot comment on the specifics of those tests at this time,” the statement concluded.
Faraday said it has been testing prototype “mules” — likely without self-driving capability — for more than a year in its home state of California, Michigan, and other locations. The startup will share roads with autonomous prototypes from automakers like Ford and less traditional entities like Google — which is building a research facility in the Detroit suburb of Novi.
Google recently signed a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, under which the two companies will jointly develop a fleet of autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in hybrid minivans.
As well as making plans to test self-driving cars, Faraday also recently hired a new executive. Former Ferrari executive Marco Mattiacci has been brought onboard in an unspecified role, according to Business Insider.
Mattiacci worked at Ferrari from 2006 to 2014, running the carmaker’s North America and Asia Pacific divisions, and briefly serving as Ferrari’s Formula One team principal.
This story originally appeared on Green Car Reports. Copyright 2016