Well, this is it! Nearly 24 hours after the leaks began, and a full 12 since the press conference in Vegas last night, the Faraday Future concept car for CES is now in clear focus.
Before you get too excited about a full reveal — with the normal specs, pricing and a production roadmap —it is best to temper expectations.
This fantasy concept from Faraday Future is not headed for the road. Nor is it really headed for any race series.
That is another story. The quad-motor, AWD EV promises 1000+ horsepower and a 200-mph-plus top speed. The electric motors are dubbed “quad core,” but it is unknown what this refers to. The technical video below may indicate hub-mounted electric motors in special wheels. This has been tried many times, unsuccessfully as of yet. [Why? For many previous tries, hub motors have made the unsprung weight of the wheels 10X normal, with resulting handling problems and supermax electricity consumption.]
A 0-60-mph sprint of under 3.0-seconds is also promised, though only on paper.
No word on the transmission: will it be direct-drive like Tesla employs, or some kind of two-speed configuration? Without an overdrive gear, most electric motors would shear themselves into pieces at those RPMs.
The closest comparison we can make to the FFZERO1 is from the Gran Turismo Vision GT concept car series, where a number of manufacturers have envisioned future LeMans style racers. The Hyundai VGT concept is close in many ways to this FF concept, sharing its ultra low, long and wide stance. Plus the central spine spoiler to achieve excellent high-speed stability. Full long-tail aero elements give the car a truly exotic swish on the preview films, accented by broad LED lightbars front and rear.
Our favorite design detail? The tailfin is clear when viewed from the side! And it lights up red throughout on braking via fiber-optic LEDs. Gorgeous, brilliant and production-feasible.
The bubble canopy slides up and forward to let you hop down into the FFZERO1. No sign of an airbag in this cheesy smart-phone-mount steering wheel, but we do have a five-point racing harness, HUD and holographic displays, plus stellar pillarless visibility like a fighter jet.
ZOOM IN: Details
So, what are the basics of this machine, beyond being a terrific buzz-maker for the early-stage startup firm?
–Single-seat cockpit with zero-G seat to bolster the driver in hard cornering
–Flat-pack battery layout
–Ultra-low-drag design also incorporates high-downforce details like a full ground-effect floor and integrated active aero for cooling. We estimate a cruising drag coefficient of 0.18, up to a downforce of around 800-pounds at 150-mph. Far sleeker than any current hypercar, but much less stick than the Porsche 919 LMP1 car, for example.
–Meant as an inspiration for the upcoming range of production models from Faraday Future, to be produced at a recently-announced Nevada factory.
–ETA of first production Faraday is mid-2018 as a 2019 model year. But perhaps sooner.
–First model expected to be crossover EV with five doors and hatchback layout, priced from around $58,000 with a 350-mile range. Roughly the size of the BMW X3, with seating for five.
–Retailing playbook may firmly clone Tesla-style online sales, heavily concentrated in California and the US west coast for the rollout.
Sorry for the perhaps unveiled skepticism on this one, folks. We LOVE startups and LOVE hypercars.
But so, so many questions remain unanswered. As a car writer, when details are so obscure as to be willfully absent… the general thought is that it is all a stunt. That being said, we did apply for a job at FF yesterday.
Who cares if the batteries can only get the car to 215-mph for 60 seconds before going totally dead and coasting to a halt. Who cares if a single-seat layout is impractical and unwanted by hypercar buyers. Who cares that the performance specs, aside from the Vmax, are no better than a tweaked Tesla Model S P90D could achieve?
Who cares where the funding of this well-capitalized, but strategically and product-planning-deficient firm originates?
Who cares if this prototype would cost buyers $700k to own, yet would not be road legal without serious changes?
We care. We want to know more.
Will keep digging into these questions about Faraday Future, and keep you posted. Until now, the firm’s main success metric appears to be BUZZ. So watch their flashy YouTubes, download their crashy app, and get over to their Not Responding website pronto.
Just do not expect to come home in a zinging future-tech showpiece of a hypercar. Not today.
But perhaps some time… in the Faraday Future.
ZOOM OUT: Context
What does the CES coup by Faraday Future really say to us after a bit of reflection? It should be a ‘come to Jesus’ moment for Mercedes, Audi, McLaren, Ferrari, Tesla and Bugatti.
Heck, even PRIUS should branch out into a standalone brand with a halo model, $100k EV SUV and others.
They could/should all be launching brands like this today. Who cares if they make a nasty EV crossover as their first car. Harnessing the power of this great technological paradigm shift will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Short of the gasoline internal-combustion-engine itself replacing steam and EV cars around 1905, a more open and level playing field for truly new, innovative and brilliant car companies has never existed. Advances in material science also make midsize-batch production possible without a $400-million fixed cost of a steel press to make fenders en masse. Previously, there was no middle ground between a single hand-beaten alloy panel and 5k Taurus trunks per hour. Getting the cash to invest in factories has always been the biggest barrier to entering the car business.
And just think: Audi and Mercedes could barely make 50 copies of their EV SLS and R8 sports cars. That all seems shamefully short-sighted, even if oil at $37 a barrel is down 75-percent from its frothy $150 peak in the mid-2000s.
Now or never, laggards!
#FaradayFuture is coming to eat your lunch.
2016 Faraday Future FFZERO1 Concept