There’s Way More To Faraday Future Than a Crazy Concept Car
Faraday Future, the long secretive electric car startup, has come out of stealth mode. It’s been hiding something crazy.
In Las Vegas tonight, Tesla’s newest competitor unveiled the FFZERO1, a wild-eyed, single-seat concept that combines elements of the Batmobile, a Le Mans racer, some switchblades, and a fighter jet.
Introducing the Faraday Future FFZERO1 Concept. https://t.co/8ixzLtzVAj
— Faraday Future (@FaradayFuture) January 5, 2016
The four electric motors (one at each wheel) combined deliver more than 1,000 horsepower, enough to send the car from 0 to 60 mph in under three seconds and to a top speed of 200 mph. The driver sits at a 45-degree angle, the steering wheel seems nicked from an F1 car, and has an embedded smartphone.
But the concept—as brain-swirling and nonsensical as it is—isn’t the most interesting thing about Faraday. The Los Angeles-based company insists it’s more than another automotive startup with a crazy-looking, over-powered car. It says it’s here to fundamentally rethink how cars are made, and what they’re made for.
“We must anticipate the future and act upon it with speed,” says Nick Sampson, Faraday’s head of R&D.
The startup promises a subscription model, which, paired with the car’s ability to drive itself, will let you order the car up to your door whenever you want it. Faraday says it will build cars on a “variable platform architecture,” allowing it to produce a variety of models with different battery packs and motor configurations. The idea is to move much faster than the auto industry’s traditionally pokey pace, and building everything off one platform helps that along.
Faraday is backed by Chinese Internet billionaire Jia Yueting—the founder of “China’s Netflix,” LeTV. It has already signed a $1 billion deal to build a factory in North Las Vegas, and plans to break ground in a few weeks. It has more than 500 employees, and expects that to double this year. They include design head Richard Kim, who designed BMW’s striking i8 and funky i3 electric cars.
That’s a good start, but the auto industry is notoriously unwelcoming to newcomers. Faraday promises a lot—Sampson compares it to Apple at the launch of the iPhone—but it hasn’t done anything just yet. Now it’s got to deliver.
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