Two days before the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas opens its doors, the mysterious electric-vehicle manufacturer called Faraday Future lifted a corner of the cover hiding its ambitious future.
What did we see? An electric supercar built on a platform that will be highly modifiable. The FFZERO1 Concept presented on stage only exists in an animated video similar to what we’d see in the Gran Turismo video game and as a full-size mock-up. It’s called a styling exercise or an example of all the possibilities and ambitions. Or how to present an EV platform called Variable Production Architecture, which resembles the base on which the Tesla Model S and Model X are built.
What did we learn? Who’s hiding behind the Faraday Future name and who is ready to invest a billion dollars in an assembly plant that will be built in Nevada. An ex-employee of Jaguar and Lotus who also worked for Tesla as well as a designer that worked in BMW’s i3 and i8 cars, surrounded by what the company calls a “formidable” team. They’re also backed by billionaire Jia Yueting and his LeTV online media and video company, evaluated at some $15 billion US. It employs 5,000 people from around the world.
If it’s built, Faraday’s supercar will boast the equivalent of 1,000 horsepower, thanks to four electric motors, resulting in a 0-100 km/h time of less than three seconds. A special helmet was even designed, which incorporates a HANS safety device as well as a water and oxygen system for the pilot.
From toy to real models
the FFZERO1 serves as an inspiration to the company’s production models, with its UFO character lines described by their head designer. If the video of the FFZERO1 helps us learn something tangible about the car, it’s at the 70th second that we see the silhouette of the FFZERO1 Concept replaced by the roofline of a future SUV. A line that appears above the platform. However, nobody specifically mentioned an SUV during the presentation.
Meanwhile, we did learn that the construction of a 3-million-square-foot assembly plant should start soon. Faraday expects to hire more than 4,500 people and produce its first car in 2017.
What can we conclude from the presentation? The race to the first successful, mass-production EV is in full swing. Faraday just couldn’t skip the 2016 edition of the CES in order to announce itself as a serious competitor that’s arriving at the starting line later than many other companies. It’s sexier to unveil a futuristic concept than a simple scalable platform without doors and wings. Everything still needs to be done before the next CES get-together. In the meantime, GM will present its production 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV at this year’s show and Tesla should introduce its Model 3 in March. Some manufacturers are way ahead of others.