By on January 4, 2017

Faraday Future FF 91

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.

Faraday Future FF 91 profile

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.

Faraday Future FF 91 rear

[Images: Faraday Future]

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16 Comments on “Faraday Future Delivered an Electric Vehicle With Only a Single Embarrassing Moment...”

  • avatar

    Hope they see it through, but talk about corporate chaos, they’ve got it. If I had so much money that I could lose $5k (and lots of people seem to) I might gamble on it. It’s got everything: unproven autonomy, weird doors, gigantic wheels, just enough CUV height, and what color but gray. Wait, isn’t this the car FCA just unveiled?

  • avatar

    FF has no credibility left, and there is no reason to believe any of the figures they spoke of in their presentation will ever be achieved, or if the demonstrations of the self-parking car (or the on-stage car) weren’t faked by remote control. Sure, they have a couple of prototypes with bad paint jobs and ill-fitting panels, but a whole lot more was told than shown here, and they didn’t show enough to make me believe for a second they’ll be ready to build a production car in 2018. The dang factory’s still a patch of graded dirt!

    Also, Toyota called, they want their cancelled Venza replacement back.

  • avatar

    It’s way better looking than Tesla’s Model X that looks like an egg on 4 wheels. But the piece of equipment sticking out on the Faraday hood needs to be better implemented.

    I hope the Faraday succeeds in the electric “exotic” market, would be nice to see Tesla have some competition.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Self-driving technology may look sexy to Wall Street, but it’s a complete waste of time and resources, particularly for a start up company. Perhaps a computer can get driving correct 99.9% of the time. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough. And when one of these computers kills someone, the company responsible will be sued out of existence.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed completely. There’s so much that has to go right just to get a non-autonomous car working. Trying to make it self-driving adds tremendous complexity to an already impossible task.

      Besides, aside from the ‘gee whiz’ factor, I can’t see it being a selling point for many people, at least not yet. Ditto any of the “connectivity features”.

      I doubt that FF will ever have a viable product, but I really hope the thing that sinks them isn’t unrealistic expectations about autonomous driving.

    • 0 avatar

      It does seem they’re biting off more than they can chew, especially considering how half-baked some of the ideas sound. Maybe they should concentrate on maximizing range, power, and build quality, instead of tackling hyper-connectivity and perfect autonomy at the same dang time.

  • avatar

    2018? Not likely without even a completed factory yet. That’s Tesla turnaround time, and they *already* have a functioning design and production team, dealer network, etc.

    I want to say the car looks cool and futuristic, and it does from any view but the front. The front just looks weird to me for some reason (but not because of the LIDAR bump, that’s kinda knight-rider-y) :)

    • 0 avatar

      Not really; it was almost 10 years into Tesla’s existence before they launched their first fully in house-developed car (the Model S.) And by most accounts, it took them about 4 years or so to develop it, which is pretty typical for a new model program. And even though they’ve figured that out and keep getting better at it (dubious design features aside) they’re still going to take about 3-4 years to bring the Model 3 from program start to production.

      Making cars is hard. Hard enough where companies who have been doing it for 100 years still mess it up here and there. Tesla’s goals have always been *ambitious* but achievable.

      these fly-by-night tech bro startups who promise concept-to-production within 2 years are selling nothing more than hot air.

    • 0 avatar

      “The front just looks weird to me for some reason”

      I’m fine with the front styling – actually, the area around the bumper is nicely done, much better than putting a fake grille on an electric car. The short hoods on EVs take some getting used to, but again they make the most sense given that there’s no internal-combustion engine taking up space, and I’d rather have the extra room in the interior than a Tesla-style small trunk.

  • avatar

    So will they beat Elio to market? Does Vegas lay lines on this stuff?

  • avatar

    I’m by no means a Lucid supporter, but their product looked more complete and better thought out. The perception is Lucid looks more like a company who has their act together whereas FF looks like they have no clue. Plus, the recent departures at FF don’t instill confidence that this can be a lucrative venture with long term stability.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    No, no, no, no.

  • avatar

    I assume they are still looking for money to complete the design and then even more money to start manufacturing? Looks good, but I think they are running out of time.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.”

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