Electric car company Faraday Future unveiled “a new species” of car in Las Vegas on Tuesday night: an electric sedan that will have the acceleration of a Formula One car and the ability to learn and adapt to the driver.
The FF 91, which the company says will go into production in 2018, would see Faraday Future compete with Tesla for the electric sports car market. The FF 91 has 1,050hp and can accelerate 0-60mph in 2.39 seconds, while the Tesla Model S P100D can reach 60mph in 2.5 seconds.
The launch came ahead of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, which starts on Thursday.
Nick Sampson, senior vice president at Faraday Future, said the car would feature a “driverless valet” system – where the driver can leave the car and order it to park itself – and two “aerodynamic antennas”, which will enable the car to essentially act as a big wireless router. The FF 91 will unlock itself by recognising the driver’s face, and will learn things about its driver and continually adapt to those preferences.
But despite all the promises, there is growing skepticism as to whether this sports car-come-sedan-come-artificial brain – which would be Faraday Future’s first ever production vehicle – will ever be built.
In November last year Aecom, the company in charge of constructing the $1bn Faraday Future car factory, stopped work over unpaid invoices.
In December three key executives, including Ding Lei, Faraday Future’s “acting global CEO”, reportedly quit the company in the space of a week.
Sampson himself referenced the problems at the launch. “Despite all the naysayers and the skeptics we will persist,” he said.
The car is a futuristic take on a four-door sedan, with wrap around tinted glass on the doors and roof, a check-pattern along the base, and lots of curves and clean lines. The FF 91 also features a circular glowing light on the hood – a little like the one on Iron Man’s chest.
The audience were also treated to a live, indoor drag race which showcased the car’s speed compared to a Bentley, a Ferrari and the Tesla S P100D. The FF 91 was the fastest, and if Faraday Future’s claims that it can achieve 60mph in 2.39 seconds are accurate, it would be the second-fastest production car ever made.
Cars have become a big part of CES in recent years. This year vehicles capable of “emotion” are expected to take centre stage. Honda claims that its cars will be “artificially generate their own emotions”, while other big brands are planning to unveil their own vehicles that are capable of interacting with the driver.
Faraday Future was keen to stress their car’s intelligence as much as its speed. Hong Bae, director of advanced drive assistance systems and self-driving, showed off the car’s “driverless valet” feature, where the driver can hop out of the car, run off to a meeting and the car will park itself.
The audience watched a live video of the FF 91 parking itself in a parking lot outside.
There were two spaces available in the lot and the FF 91 duly found a spot, reversing slowly into the space without hitting any of the other vehicles in the lot. Bae and Sampson also talked up the ability of the FF 91 to build a relationship with the driver by learning and adapting to an individual’s in-car preferences.
Faraday Future did not respond to questions about how the factory delay and the departure of its executives – the company’s chief brand and commercial officer and VP for product marketing and growth left along with Lei – would impact production.