Quality issues and production delays aside, Tesla has been very, very successful at one specific thing: turning the modern automotive industry on its head.
The Model S and Model X have successfully set the bar for what electric vehicle buyers need and want, the brand has become a status symbol akin to the likes of luxury marques like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and ever Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, in some cases.
While major automakers scramble to catch up and release their best shot at the Silicon Valley startup, naturally, other startups with lots of cash and access to former industry executives are going to try to beat Tesla at their own game as well.
A California-based, Chinese funded startup, Faraday Future unveiled a concept of the 2018 FF 91 EV at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Enter: Faraday Future, a California-based company partnered with Chinese EV startup LeEco and led by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting.
The company arrived on the scene last year to decent fanfare as a potential Tesla-fighter with the money and resources to do so. But after much trouble revealing a downright ugly concept car at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), more and more bad news surrounding the company started to bubble to the surface.
The 2018 Faraday Future FF 91 will supposedly pack 10 cameras, 13 short and long range radars, 12 sensors and 3-D LIDAR for fully-autonomous capability once street legal.(FARADAY FUTURE)
But they soldiered on, and released what they claim is the production-ready FF91 just last night at CES 2017.
The long, lean silver car is certainly a head turner, with an overall shape somewhere between a minivan and coupe-like crossover, but as a credit to the design team, certain cues like the full-width headlights and taillights make this pipe dream truly look like the future we’re expecting.
The company claims that the FF91 packs 10 cameras around the car, 13 short and long range radars, 12 sensors, and a three-dimension LIDAR system that pops up from the hood right in front of the windshield, supposedly to give the car fully-autonomous driving capability when the technology becomes available and road legal.
Faraday Future claims the 2018 FF 91 will also be packed with 1,050 horsepower and a 130 kWh battery with a 378-mile range.(FARADAY FUTURE)
The real impressive claims, however, come from the powertrain department, as Faraday states that the FF91 will pack 1,050 horsepower. That’s right, over 1,000 ponies from a pod that looks like a futuristic Toyota Previa. We’re living in a brave new world, folks.
Faraday also claims 130 kWh of energy from high-density battery packs, and a driving range of 378 miles, which if true, would truly put this car on par with many gas-powered luxury vehicles with which it would be competing.
Inside, the FF91 has a learning interior that will pick up on drivers and passengers individual preferences and adjust the settings of the car accordingly. Like your seat a certain way? The FF91 will remember, and adjust it for you.
Prospective buyers can put down a $5,000 deposit to be the first to own the FF 91. If you’re still iffy about dropping 5 grand on a suspicious pipe dream, perhaps you can rest easy knowing a portion of your deposit will be donated to an environmental cause.(FARADAY FUTURE)
It also uses the exterior lighting system to communicate with other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians when in autonomous mode, and replaces the side mirrors with high-definition cameras and the rearview mirror with a seamless display that essentially eliminates blind spots, according to the company.
Prospective buyers can put a refundable $5,000 deposit down to be one of the first to own the FF91, and will have access to unique colors and features that won’t be available to the rest of the buying public. A portion of the proceeds from reservations will also be donated to an environmental fund, so at least your 5-large will be going towards more than a somewhat suspicious pipe dream.
Impressed? We are too, but according to several inside the company – and the fact that several of their executives departed the scene just before this week’s big reveal – signal that not everything is quite as it seems at Faraday. For now, we’ll hold out hope that they do pull it off, but don’t be surprised if everything goes belly-up in another 12 months’ time.