January 19, 2016
In a market under siege by the one EV company with an attractive product, it’s about time someone figured out the recipe. The issue: the new cook is adding a whole lot of spice, and not much substance.
Faraday Future (FF) entered the scene in July of 2015 with a couple silhouettes and some big talk. They claimed the electric vehicle they were designing would outperform Tesla’s Model S with a 15 percent higher energy density in its battery pack. Since then, no news on their production vehicle, but lots of buzz on the FFZero1, the company’s concept car that debuted on January 4 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
FF claims the FFZero1 has max speed over 200 mph, a break horsepower of 1000 and a 0-60 time under 3 seconds. Futurism and absurdity are generally accepted when it comes to concept cars from established brands, but critics have come out in droves to note that, without any drivable vehicles as proof of performance, FF’s concept is all flair with no footing. For many car enthusiasts, the focus has been the Hot Wheels boxiness and Batmobile-esque front end.
The project has been generally regarded as a ruse to incite media attention, which worked, even if the coverage wasn’t entirely positive. FF has said that the car is a tool for ongoing experimentation, in parallel to their work procuring a road car for production. And, behind this flashy curtain, FF has been making moves to create something more tangible. They recently announced that they will be building a billion dollar factory in North Las Vegas, accepting Nevada’s offer of $215 million in tax credits and abatements and $120 million in infrastructure improvements.
Since FF was founded in 2014, they have taken on several former Tesla team members including top engineers and design personnel, and even a former Space X employee. Although Elon Musk has lost employees, competition in the electric car market is good for Tesla because it creates more charging infrastructure. It was for this reason that Musk opened some of his patents to the public in 2014.
Beyond the carbon fiber and space-ship inspired interior of their concept car, FF has a fascinating vision for their production vehicles. With Variable Platform Architecture construction, FF vehicles use an adjustable base to accommodate different battery and motor arrangements. This means the company can produce a range of vehicles in what they assert will be less time and at a lower cost. Like Tesla, FF also aims to gradually increase vehicle autonomy over time through new software.
It seems as though Faraday Future has the tools and the ambition to compete, and that the electric car world would benefit from a new generation of sustainable vehicles.
Photo Credit: Faraday Future