Faraday Future Delivered an Electric Vehicle With Only a Single Embarrassing Moment

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Despite a year’s worth of absolutely scathing publicity and countering hype from the company, Faraday Future finally presented the world with an electric vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show last night.

The car — called the FF 91 — would become the quintessential futuristic vehicle if it lives up to even a third of Faraday’s claims. Faster than any Tesla, with better range, more sensors, and an incredible user recognition program, it was an extraordinary example of what Faraday needs to bring to the table in order to continue existing.

Faraday’s presentation contained a number of strange moments that touched upon the myriad of criticisms against it, without addressing anything too directly. After two countdown timers, Senior Vice President of R&D Nick Sampson took to the stage to remind the press of Faraday’s achievements over the past two years — suggesting its incongruous structuring and clean-slate history were assets. Sampson presented a short film of FF’s factory construction locale in Nevada — currently stalled due to non-payment — and the following speaker introduced North Las Vegas’ mayor in a sign of good faith.

The troubled startup claims its 91 is equipped with a dozen ultrasonic sensors, two modems, two antennae, and a baker’s dozen worth of short-range radar receivers. It also has three-dimensional LIDAR housed a blue-ringed puck that pops up from the hood of the car. That many sensors should be sufficient for vehicular autonomy, and Faraday used them to park the 91 using an app installed on a phone. While slow moving, it managed to back into a “random” parking space without much hassle.

The parking display segued seamlessly into Farday’s face of electrical engineering, Peter Savagian, taking the stage. Despite having only joined the company in August, Savagian’s enthusiasm appeared boundless. He touted the FF 91 as possessing the largest and most dense battery pack available, containing 130 kilowatt hours of energy. As things currently stand, that makes it superior than the best offering from Tesla. FF claimed the power pack would provide the car with a range of 378 miles, or more if drivers stuck to a constant average speed of 55 miles an hour. A proposed open charging system allows the car to make use of 110 or 240 volt AC at-home chargers. It is also supposed to be capable of 200 kilowatt DC quick-charging capability, with the eventual promise of wireless charging.

Savagian, who once worked on General Motor’s defunct EV1 program, was even more excited about the 91’s performance figures. At a claimed 1,050 horsepower and a 2.39-second 0-to-60 time, Faraday Future was happy to exhibit the car’s straight-line speed against a Bentley Bentayga, Ferrari 488 GTB, and a couple of Tesla’s best. While we didn’t actually see the finish line or know who was keeping score, the FF 91 narrowly beat out the Model S in Ludicrous Mode.

Afterward, Faraday Future finally rolled out a silver “production” model — the previous two black and white cars appeared to be specifically for demonstrative purposes — and the presentation hit a snag. Rich person and LeEco godfather, Jia Yueting, stepped out of the metallic 91 to prompt the “auto valet park” feature, only to see the car malfunction on stage.

“OK, it seems like it’s a little bit lazy tonight,” Sampson said of the car before inviting Jia to give some remarks about the company.

However, after Jia’s somewhat difficult to understand speech, the lights dimmed and the car eventually took its place center stage. “As a new baby, she’s often very, very timid,” Sampson joked.

Speaking to The Verge post-show, Sampson commented on the matter by saying “It’s a complex situation … We knew there were technical challenges. If you look up at the roof of this building, there’s a lot of structure up there that inhibits some of the signals the car needs to be able to self-drive.”

While not an utter disaster, it was what every cynical journalist was waiting for and proof that Faraday Future still isn’t as far along in the process as they’d like us to believe. The fact that the car also didn’t drive itself offstage was telling, and so was the decision to completely gloss over the vehicle’s interior. There were also a scant number of details given on the “FF ID” Bluetooth and facial recognition software that allows all FF cars to identify you — offering keyless entry, voice control, entertainment solutions, and internet while it continuously but “non-intrusively” learns about you and saves your preferences.

In fact, the impressive/terrifying-sounding features was the absolutely staggering level of connectivity the car was supposed to offer. However, Faraday never showcased any of that, either.

Pricing remains a mystery, as does how it will build the cars without a completed factory. However, you can make a reservation on Faraday’s website for a refundable $5,000. The first 300 production FF 91s come in a unique color and are slated for production in 2018.

[Images: Faraday Future]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Brn Brn on Jan 04, 2017

    FF didn't "deliver" anything other than a presentation. In the automotive world, using the term "delivered" suggests a consumer was sold and received a production vehicle. At least you used quotes around "production", as it's far from that either. They don't even have a production facility yet. At best, the vehicle could be considered a prototype.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Jan 05, 2017

    Who do you want to hang with? The friend who says "hey check out my new FF91, it has Twitter and parks itself and I can drive it with my phone," or the friend who shows up in his old F150 and says, "get in, we're going to drink beer and meet girls."

  • 28-Cars-Later "Here's why" edition_cnn_com/2018/06/13/health/falling-iq-scores-study-intl/index.html
  • 28-Cars-Later Seriously, $85. GM Delta I is burning hot garbage to the point where the 1990 Saturn Z-body is leagues better. My mother inherited an '07 Ion with 30Kish otc which was destroyed in 2014 by a tipsy driver with a suspended license (driver's license enforcement is a joke in Pennsyltucky). Insurance paid out $6,400 when it was only worth about $5,800 IIRC, but sure 10 year later the "hipo" Delta I can fetch how much?
  • Buickman styling does not overcome powertrain, follow the money. labor/materials.
  • VoGhost It's funny, until CDK raises their prices to cover the cost. And then the stealerships do even more stealing because they're certainly not taking the hit - why do you think they make all those political donations? So who pays in the end?
  • VoGhost I was talking today to a guy who pulled up in an '86 Camry. Said it ran like a top, got 30 mpg, the AC was ice cold and everywhere he goes, people ask to buy it. He seemed happy.