Faraday Future
The FFZero1 is an electric concept car built by Faraday Future. Its road cars will look very different...Faraday Future

Faraday Future, the secretive electric car company set to rival Tesla, is to begin testing prototype cars on public roads in Michigan soon. The company revealed its first concept car in January this year, and recently began work on a $1bn (£700m) factory in Nevada.

Founded two years ago and with around 800 employees, Faraday Future (FF) only revealed itself publicly in mid-2015, and apart from a futuristic Batmobile-like concept at the CES tech show in January, has remained firmly below the radar, despite having billions of dollars of Chinese funding and a host of high-profile employees, including several hired from Tesla.

Now, just six weeks after breaking ground on its new factory, FF has applied for three number plates from the Michigan Department of Transportation. First reported by The Detroit News, this has been confirmed by FF itself, who said the plates will be used to help test "various FF vehicle prototypes and features."

Although FF said it cannot comment on the "specifics" of the tests, it is being claimed the vehicles using these plates will be autonomous. Citing Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan DoT, The Detroit News claims FF asked about applying for plates to test self-driving cars in January 2016.

FF is yet to give many details about the cars it wants to produce, other than stating they will all be built on a shared platform, keeping down complexity, development time and cost. The cars will be fully electric and likely match or exceed the 300-mile range of the Tesla Model S.

Ford is another car maker which has a license to test autonomous cars on public roads in Michigan. The company went there to test in snow and rain, weather conditions which are difficult to find in California, where it and several other companies test self-driving cars. Autonomous driving is expected to feature, but as with other car companies, we are unlikely to see a fully autonomous FF vehicle until the next decade. Initially the cars are expected to have features like Tesla's Autopilot.