LAS VEGAS – The enigmatic Faraday Future (FF), a Southern California-based automotive startup company, unveiled its FFZERO1 electric concept vehicle here at a private event held in advance of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show.
The single-seat FFZERO1, referred to as “the race car” by chief designer Richard Kim, looks more like a Le Mans racing prototype than a competitor to the Tesla Model S. And indeed its performance specs rival those of supercars: over 1,000 horsepower, zero to 60 in less than 3 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 mph.
But more down-to-earth design ideas were also revealed. Chief among them was Faraday Future’s modular Vehicle Platform Architecture (VPA), which allows for a range of vehicle types from compact and midsize sedans to luxury SUVs, pickup trucks…and even the FFZERO1.
Propulsion options span from one to four electric motors, which can be arranged to support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. In all variations, the batteries reside under the floor, laid out in “strings” of battery modules (think rows of bricks). The battery pack design can be scaled up or down along with the car’s wheelbase to support specific driving range and performance goals.
No specifications or sketches of Faraday Future’s first production vehicle were discussed. But Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and North Las Vegas Mayor John J. Lee were on hand to hear Nick Sampson, Senior VP of R&D and Product Development at Faraday Future, reiterate plans to break ground on the company’s North Las Vegas automobile plant at an as-yet unspecified date in the next few weeks.
It seems likely that its first vehicle offering will be sold or leased in the traditional way, but FF dropped strong hints that it is heading toward a future “ownership” model in which customers buy miles that they can spread across a range of different FF vehicle types that they can summon as needs dictate.
Faraday Future is backed by deep pockets in the form of LeTV, which was characterized as the Netflix of China. LeTV co-founder Ding Lei was on hand to explain how Faraday Future electric vehicles are intended to be part of a larger “SEE Plan” (Super Electronic Ecosystem) connected network, a platform that can be an extension of other aspects of a user’s connected lifestyle.
Edmunds says: The FFZERO1 concept may not be the realistic product we were hoping to see, but it seems clear this fast-moving and well-financed company will reveal more mainstream ideas in the not-so-distant future.