Following a disappointing introduction at last year’s CES and a full 12 months of reports of organization dysfunction, financial mismanagement, factory construction delays and key staff departures, Faraday Future has finally presented the world with its show-stopping autonomous electric car.
FF just unveiled the “new species” of cars it’s calling the FF 91 during a livestream in Las Vegas, and here’s what we know so far.
Faraday Future claims its FF 91 has 10 front and rear facing cameras, 13 long and short range radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors and one high definition 3D LIDAR setup (the little blue pop-up circle) to satisfy the most “comprehensive” autonomous sensor suite. The company also claims you’ll never have to worry about parking again.
They then demonstrated this live by having the car find its own spot in a lot and park, supposedly all on its own. It’s activated using FF’s CTRL phone app.
The electric propulsion system is claimed to be good for 1,050 horsepower. Faraday has developed a modular architecture to fill out its future lineup, with an open charging system with the ability to take charge from any standard using either 110 or 240 volt AC at-home chargers. The company also claimed a 200 kilowatt DC quick-charging capability, with a promise of wireless charging down the road. The car also has a 0.25 drag coefficient.
The FF 91 claims the largest battery size with the densest battery pack featuring the highest density battery cells, with 130 kilowatt hours of energy, which is higher than Tesla’s highest-performance offering. Faraday claimed the car should get an estimated 378 miles of range.
On the interior, every person in the car’s seat will intuitively know and learn your individual preferences using profile identification with “seamless entry” that relies heavily on the company’s FF ID ecosystem.
The FF ID makes you the key to the car, using Bluetooth and facial recognition to unlock the doors, which aslo continuously but “non-intrusively” learns about you.
The car will also adapt to the environment as well, with a propulsion system that “just knows” and anticipates the passenger’s needs. It will adjust settings for comfort, performance and safety.
The car uses its exterior lighting to communicate its autonomous driving mode to pedestrians, and features rear-facing cameras instead of door mirrors. It also features seamlessly integrated WiFi hotspots in the dual antennas, and transforming wheels to adapt with driving conditions and increase aerodynamic efficiency. Oh yea, and scissor doors and flying buttresses.
The first car then did some “0-60" runs where it went against a Tesla Model X and Model S on a stretch of stage, but you couldn’t see the finish line, which was suspicious. Faraday claims they’ve set a new world record and now hold the title of fastest electric vehicle, with a claimed 0-60 time of 2.39 seconds. Of course there’s not going to be a way to double check that until it comes to production.
Also, closer inspection of the first car they brought out reveals some surprisingly large panel gaps and misalignment, which isn’t necessarily uncommon on a stage car. The interior of the car wasn’t show off either, making it clear the car is still not production-ready.
The team brought out another car that is much closer to production in exterior design, but then couldn’t get it to autonomously drive itself away as intended. That’s unfortunate.
You can make a reservation on their website for a refundable $5,000, which gives you access to the first 300 FF 91's ever with a unique color and other bespoke features. The full price wasn’t announced. Faraday will evidently be auctioning the very first car in March 2017. Part of the proceeds of these “Alliance Edition” cars and the auction will go to an environmental protection organization which will be named sometime soon.
The car is planned for production in 2018, but tonight’s demonstration showed the factory was still just a flattened patch of Nevada desert.
The car was leaked just a little early before being revealed during the presentation on Twitter:
It’s incredibly difficult to translate just how bad of a year it was for Faraday Future, which is financially backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting with connections to LeEco, another electric vehicle startup under the umbrella of Yueting’s media empire LeTV, which also confusingly had its LeSee concept car designed by the Faraday Future team.
Any hope of Faraday Future making it through the next year came down to it getting a car on stage today that wasn’t a pipe-dream hot wheels knock-off.
More details as we get them.