The ongoing saga of Faraday Future has certainly been the topic of many water cooler discussions, especially after it unveiled the controversial FFZERO1 concept car earlier this year. However the company has dropped another bombshell, revealing that it is changing course on its four year production plan.
The original plan called for the first production Faraday model to arrive by 2018, but the new plan that was unveiled at the groundbreaking ceremony for its new factory in Nevada appears to push this target into the 2020’s with no definite target date being released. This follows up on the company claiming that it has secured at least $1 billion in funding, but Nevada officials have asked for more reassurances and more details on the company’s long term goals before issuing more bonds to cover infrastructure costs.
“We have said we’re taking a four year program and our goal is to do it in half the time,” revealed Faraday spokeswoman Stacy Morris in an interview with the Detroit News. “But we’re not releasing a specific date yet. This is a very complicated project and so we’re just trying to move as fast as we can while doing it right.”
The company has always been shrouded in a veil of mystery since its abrupt apperance with the firm’s initially making big claims without revealing the figures behind its central leadership. Subsequent investigations revealed that Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting is at the helm, and could possibly be the lead financial backer as well.
The company’s way of unveiling concept cars has not helped change its mysterious vibe either, with the firm unveiling its wild but non functioning FFZERO1 concept car at CES in January. This inaugural concept was blasted by critics due to its wild styling, as well as not being the production oriented car that many had anticipated. A mysterious sketch that was recently teased at a Formula E race in California appears to address this complaint by adopting a more production focused theme in its design.
Currently the company’s factory has 60 employees, but Faraday predicts that the facility will eventually have to have 4,500 workers to keep production moving at a brisk pace.
It has been awhile since we have heard from the folks at Faraday Future. The mysterious upstart promised a vehicle that would rival Tesla, and released several cryptic teasers hinting that such a vehicle was on the way. While that particular model is still a few years away, the company has unveiled the next best thing with its wild FFZERO1 concept race-car.
While this isn’t the company’s first production car, it does preview the Variable Platform Architecture (VPA) that will eventually underpin all of its models. While it sounds complicated at first, the platform is actually quite simple, and allows the battery cells to rest between the front and rear wheels with the wheelbase itself capable of being stretched to accommodate more batteries that would be hooked up in “strings.”
Faraday claims that this unique architecture allows the firm to easily switch between front, rear, and all-wheel drive applications, while also extending overall driving range and flexibility in terms of powertrain layouts. This platform would also allow the company to compete with Tesla, and give them the ability to tackle multiple segments without the need for separate platforms.
The concept itself is a single-seat race car, and comes equipped with several state of the art features. The driver for example sits in a novel 45-degree reclined position that allegedly helps improve blood circulation while the center of the steering wheel features a built in smartphone dock that would allow the driver to control all of its functions via a separate app program.
Faraday Future also revealed that the car is capable (at least in theory) of fully autonomous capability both on and off the track, but verifying this claim will have to wait until the company lets the car stretch out its legs on a formal race circuit. As far as its applications in more street oriented vehicles, this capability would allow the system to be on par with Tesla’s Autopilot system, though it will be interesting to see what the company does to avoid some of the dangerous near misses that have brought the fore-mentioned Autopilot system into the national spotlight.
However there is more to this particular concept than slick technology. Faraday’s design team went all out on its suit of clothes, and it is a tasteful blend of purposeful futuristic cues, and bold lines that leap out at the eye, especially at first glance. Faraday Future also revealed that the car’s “UFO Line” (the part that juts out from the side of the car) will be used as a key design element on all of its production models. Look for those models to embrace a more conventional theme while still retaining a strong focus on style.
The company also released a pair of videos featuring the FFZERO1 which can be seen below.