Jan 09

Faraday Future Debuts New Hyper-Everything Car

 

By Jeff Nisewanger

faraday-future-ff-91-668x409

Controversial startup carmaker Faraday Future showed off a prototype of its first car yesterday at a large event in Las Vegas amid questions about its ongoing viability.

The introduction of the over-1,000 horsepower, autonomous-capable, “FF 91” luxury crossover SUV was held in conjunction with the annual CES 2017 consumer electronics convention.

Included in the show space intended to wow the audience were stadium seats facing a track runway used to launch the company’s new car with impressive acceleration. The FF 91’s name is a bit of a mystery, and other open questions remain for this ostensible Tesla competitor.

faraday-future-ff-91-12-e1483554888715

First delivery is promised for 2018 and $5,000 refundable reservations are now being taken on the company’s website although final pricing was not provided or even estimated.

The turbulent company says it has 1,400 employees, has filed nearly 2,000 global patents, and designed a functional beta version of its new car in a short two-and-a-half years since its concept inception.

Richard Kim presents FF 91 design elements.

Richard Kim presents FF 91 design elements.

Faraday Future (FF) is bankrolled by Jia Yueting, a Chinese billionaire in the online video streaming business in that country. Yueting, who has recently acknowledged he may be overextending his investments, also oversees a Chinese electric automaker startup as part of his LeEco business conglomerate and owns a smaller stake in U.S.-based Lucid Motors. Some Faraday Future insiders and ex-employees have reportedly complained of being diverted to work on LeEco’s vehicle.

As for the FF 91, presentations were given by a number of high-profile employees. These included designer Richard Kim formerly of BMW, and Senior VP of engineering Nick Sampson who came from Tesla, and Peter Savagian who previously headed electric powertrain development at General Motors. Jia Yueting also participated and gave a short speech.

The newly revealed vehicle has crossover styling with an all-wheel-drive powertrain said to output an enormous 1,050 horsepower (783 kilowatts). The company reported Tesla-beating acceleration of 0-60 mph in as low as 2.39 seconds. A race track video showed Faraday’s car just nudging ahead of Tesla’s latest Model S P100D.

Battery capacity reaches 130 kilowatt-hours compared to Tesla’s present 100 kilowatt-hours. Driving range was estimated over 378 miles using EPA testing protocols with 482 miles achievable at a steady 55 mph.

FF_chassis

The cylindrical battery cells come from LG Chem and are fitted in a so-called skateboard style platform under the floor. A chassis on display appeared to have a battery dimension about twice as thick as Tesla’s which could explain how they manage the high energy storage. It could also raise questions of how many pounds the battery is packing.

SEE ALSO: Faraday Future Boasts 64,000 Reservations For FF 91 And Counting

The company’s claimed peak charging rate of nearly 200 kilowatts is higher than Tesla’s roughly 120-kilowatt peak today. Lucid Motors, also an LG Chem customer, recently said it thinks 170 kilowatts is the fastest practical charging rate possible today with the same size battery pack without harming the pack’s long-term durability. Other details regarding the charging system were not given although compatibility with existing fast charging standards was asserted.

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One distinguishing feature of the car is a single round LIDAR puck which visibly protrudes from the hood during automated driving but remains otherwise hidden. Some 10 cameras, 13 radars, and other sensors sweep the nearby surroundings. A live video demonstration in a nearby parking lot demonstrated the car’s ability to find an available slot and park itself after the driver had exited. A later demonstration inside the venue failed.

Like the recently introduced Air sedan from startup Lucid Motors, the car features unusual dual parallel fins anchored near the left and right trailing sides of the roof. The fins will act as antennas and will also house rear-facing cameras.

Just last year, the company debuted a squat non-functioning sports car concept vehicle that some observers referred to as the “batmobile.”

The show was all about the exterior design, though the interior is supposed to impress in due time when it's ready, as well. The prototype does have an interior though, of course. Here's a snippet view.

The show was all about the exterior design, though the interior is supposed to impress in due time when it’s ready, as well. The prototype does have an interior though, of course. Here’s a snippet view.

Faraday Future has plans for a large assembly factory in Nevada but so far has only managed to flatten dirt at the site after failing to make timely payments to its contractor. Nevada state treasurer Dan Schwartz, who oversees the state’s incentives used to help build the plant, has recently questioned the company’s financial stability.

Some senior executives have recently left and the company apparently has no formal ongoing CEO.

Faraday’s lead designer, Richard Kim, said the car has a large 126 inch wheelbase that allows for ample rear seating space. This, in turn, allows for reclining rear seats which are a popular option in luxury cars in Asia. An unusually tight turning circle is enabled by steerable rear wheels and power can be torque vectored to the wheels while speeding along curvy roads using the two independent electric motors, each driving its own rear wheel, in addition to the single front motor.

The rear executive-style seating is visible with both doors open. Many more official exterior shots are in the picture gallery below.

The rear executive-style seating is visible with both doors open. More official exterior shots are in the picture gallery below.


The FF 91 has unusual suicide doors like the BMW i3 electric car that Kim previously designed, although that car omitted the center B-pillar. The doors have no handles and are popped open by touch and unlocked apparently by facial recognition or previously-paired cellphone recognition.

Kim said the design was driven by aerodynamic considerations although it achieves a 0.25 drag coefficient. This is good for a crossover SUV, but otherwise just matches that of a Toyota Prius while Tesla is said to be aiming for 0.21 on its Model 3 which is still in development.

The beta prototype car presented had camera-based exterior side view “mirrors” which are not yet legal for vehicles sold in the U.S. An adapter may be provided that converts to physical mirrors while they are still legally mandated.

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Presenters stressed that the FF 91 is not merely a car but a hyper-connected mobility environment that will be smoothly integrated with customer electronic devices. Multiple high-speed network connections will be redundantly managed in order to avoid loss of connectivity. Streaming video and other content will seamlessly move from a phone to the car’s larger built-in passenger displays. Each occupant can be individually identified by an “FF ID” tracked by software on their phone thus recreating their preferred options and environment when they enter the vehicle.

The company promised ongoing updates in the coming year to show off the car’s interior design and provide more details on charging infrastructure, pricing, and other details.

HybridCars.com

This entry was posted on Monday, January 9th, 2017 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 25


  1. 1
    Dave G

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (6:16 am)

    OT: Today I can buy 18650 cells on amazon.com for $88/kWh.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017YLD83S?m=A2MQH67N57UZ7V
    These are advertised as 5300mAh, but such claims are often over-rated. A typical 18650 cell stores around 2600mAh, or 2.6 Ah. At 3.7V, that works out to 9.6 Wh. The link above is for 10 cells (96Wh) at $8.49. That works out to 8.8 cents/Wh or $88/kWh.

    Note: That’s just the price for the cells. For total pack price, we need to add the cost of the pack electronics, cooling, skins, connectors, etc.

    But still, $88/kWh retail on amazon.com shows how far Li/Ion cell prices have dropped.


  2. 2
    Dan Petit/Petit Technical College

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (6:40 am)

    Sorry, but;

    This car makes no sense.

    One track mindedness for horsepower and autonomy impresses no one except a person who wants to put out a fire with gasoline.

    It is absurd.


  3. 3
    Big Game James

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (7:21 am)

    The car would look very nice if it had a 1930’s style hood ornament. I would suggest the topless lady from the 1935 Buick 96S Sport Coupe:

    http://northstargallery.com/cars/aaaa535web.jpg
    You may have your own favorite.

    By the way, that looks like a car (not an SUV) to me.


  4. 4
    Mark Z

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (7:23 am)

    The CES viewing location was impressive. Attendees would have their badge scanned to climb the stairs for a leisurely look from high, low and 360 degrees. All but the press and special guests were kept from taking a close look. That distance helps me keep my distance from considering an FF vehicle until long after production models have been driven in the distant future.


  5. 5
    nuclearboy

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (8:18 am)

    Great looking design IMO. Love the size and lines.

    Wish someone was making this with practical specifications so the price would be “practical”.


  6. 6
    Kdawg

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (8:25 am)

    Odds are against them, but I hope they succeed. A total success would be to make to a point where they are producing cars for everyday ppl (assuming this one will be $120K+). A very limited success would be enough that they put enough pressure on the legacy automakers to keep advancing the EV space.

    Big Game James: By the way, that looks like a car (not an SUV) to me.

    Check out the dimensions. It’s big.


  7. 7
    Jim I

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (8:29 am)

    I am guessing a price of about $250,000.

    Wonder how many they will sell???

    Go Chevy Bolt!!!

    Jim – C-5277


  8. 8
    Frank

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (8:46 am)

    I’m guessing $150,000 to 175,000.


  9. 9
    MotoEV

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (9:23 am)

    It is now clear why so many people have left FF. This looks like a very expensive high school science / technology project with a lot of ‘eye candy’ to impress the classmates.

    Practical? Attractive? Mass-Produceable?

    It is clear taking design concepts from Tesla (large portrait screen, and more) are prerequisites for introducing an expensive BEV.

    This exercise is more about showing the marketplace this company has a future. I don’t think we will have to wait a year to find out.


  10. 10
    Kdawg

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (9:44 am)

    Frank: I’m guessing $150,000 to 175,000.

    $199,999.99 🙂

    I wonder if they will be at the Detroit Auto Show (my guess is no).


  11. 11
    Jackson

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (11:22 am)

    More of everything? Higher speed, higher acceleration, higher cost?

    The answer to Tesla is not “more more more” but “less less less.” We don’t need another Duesenberg, or quarter-second 0 – 60 times. It’s time for the model T (If the price drops, that will surely be the Bolt; and I think this will happen with surprising speed*).

    Yes I deliberately omitted range. That’s one area where more will be appreciated; can there ever be enough? Batteries will need to drop well below Dave G’s $88 per Kwh to provide 350 – 400 miles for a decently priced car, even if a more sedate model can go that far on ‘only’ 120 Kwh.

    * Here’s my rosy prediction: Price will lower as values of the tax credit drop; keeping the final cost at $29,999. As newer models with greater range/size appear, it will drop further. In the model’s last iteration, it will be “comfortably under” $25K: “Any range the customer wants, as long as it’s 238.” 🙂


  12. 12
    Upnorth QC

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (11:59 am)

    This kind of super “E” cars does not help the electrification cause.It pumps incentives where it’s not intended.


  13. 13
    Jim I

     

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (1:10 pm)

    Jackson:
    * Here’s my rosy prediction:Price will lower as values of the tax credit drop; keeping the final cost at $29,999.As newer models with greater range/size appear, it will drop further.In the model’s last iteration, it will be “comfortably under” $25K:“Any range the customer wants, as long as it’s 238.”

    ===================================

    I just hope that to get to that price they don’t “cheapen” up the car to a point where it is not something that any wants to buy!

    Or maybe they could come out with a model like the original VW Bug that was designed and sold as a low cost no frills unit at the lowest cost point possible. I remember when my sister bought a bug in 1971 for $2100.00 out the door. It was a car with with stick shift and an AM radio….

    Jim – C-5277


  14. 14
    Kdawg

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (2:32 pm)

    Jim I: Or maybe they could come out with a model like the original VW Bug

    Did you see where VW is bringing back the old VW minibus, but in BEV form? ID Buzz concept due after 2020.


  15. 15
    Dave G

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (2:43 pm)

    Jackson: That’s one area where more will be appreciated; can there ever be enough? Batteries will need to drop well below Dave G’s $88 per Kwh to provide 350 – 400 miles for a decently priced car…

    And when batteries get that cheap, we’ll also see range extended EVs with 100 all-electric miles. With such vehicles, 95% of your miles will be all-electric, just by charging at home. No need for a completely new infrastructure of extreme fast chargers.

    And by the way, that REEV-100 will cost less than a similar BEV-400.

    battery%20pack%20cost_zpsljbmppbs.jpg

    As you can see, battery prices would need to get around $15/kWh before the pure BEV becomes cheaper. That’s dirt cheap. Nobody expects cell prices to get that low.

    I suspect Li/Ion cell prices will bottom out around $35/kWh, and that’s very aggressive compared to industry pundits.


  16. 16
    Jackson

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (2:49 pm)

    Kdawg: Did you see where VW is bringing back the old VW minibus, but in BEV form?ID Buzz concept due after 2020.

    2nu6b08.jpg
    .

    qq23gk.jpg

    Pictures originally released less than 24 hours ago.


  17. 17
    Dave G

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (2:54 pm)

    Jackson: , even if a more sedate model can go that far on ‘only’ 120 Kwh.

    Ironically, the sedate model would probably go fewer miles.

    Dual motors not only buys you more power, it’s also more efficient. Kind of the opposite of an ICE.


  18. 18
    Jackson

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (2:56 pm)

    Dave G: And when batteries get that cheap, we’ll also see range extended EVs with 100 all-electric miles. With such vehicles, 95% of your miles will be all-electric, just by charging at home.
    And by the way, that REEV-100 will cost less than a similar BEV-400.

    My dream has been that 100-mile EREV, for a long time. From the example of 100-mile BEVs, it seems like you could home-charge in a single night with L2.


  19. 19
    Jackson

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (3:09 pm)

    Dave G: Dual motors not only buys you more power, it’s also more efficient. Kind of the opposite of an ICE.

    Put ’em on then. Motors will drop in cost with volume too.

    My understanding is that with front drive the rear tires have to be dragged along to spin, increasing friction; and that there are actually aerodynamic loads on the tires. Turning them actively helps overcome these losses.

    If the object is efficiency, not hot-rodding, there is no need for a second motor to be very powerful. Just enough to overcome drag and friction. It could probably be a Spark-like arrangement with a higher final drive ratio. Alternatively, use a medium power motor fore and aft such that an adequate (not excessive) overall horsepower is achieved. Poor weather traction is a bonus.


  20. 20
    Kdawg

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (3:29 pm)

    Dave G,

    I don’t think you need 130kWH to get 400 miles. In the non-aerodynamic Bolt EV, 100 kWh would do it. Note, the cost of building something is more than the sum of its parts. The transmission in a PHEV is also more expensive. Toyota’s engineers said it’s cheaper to build a BEV than a Hybrid, though they didn’t say what range.


  21. 21
    Powered7

     

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (3:31 pm)

    I think it’s really great that Faraday Future has come out with the FF 91. Perhaps they will offer options, including for the battery capacity, that will allow the price range to start close to Tesla Model 3 territory. Hopefully this will be true for the Lucid Air too.


  22. 22
    Steverino

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (3:36 pm)

    I think FF has a long way to go to be viable. Supercar pricing is probably appropriate, as who else but people with money to burn would even consider buying what could be the next Fiskar, problems and all?

    Jim I: ===================================

    I just hope that to get to that price they don’t “cheapen” up the car to a point where it is not something that any wants to buy!

    Or maybe they could come out with a model like the original VW Bug that was designed and sold as a low cost no frills unit at the lowest cost point possible.I remember when my sister bought a bug in 1971 for $2100.00 out the door.It was a car with with stick shift and an AM radio….

    Jim – C-5277

    My first car was a 1970 Beetle. $2000. Rubber mat flooring (no carpet), AM radio. A great car to learn on. I had that car completely apart a number of times. The air cooled engine was also a great learning exercise. Took that apart too.


  23. 23
    Kdawg

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (4:39 pm)

    Speaking of startup EV companies, Rivian just bought the old Mitsubishi plant in Normal IL to build EVs there. I hope it works out for them too.

    https://rivian.com/

    http://www.autoblog.com/2017/01/09/rivian-ev-startup-mitsubishi-plant-normal-illinois/


  24. 24
    Loboc

     

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    Jan 9th, 2017 (5:15 pm)

    Steverino:
    My first car was a 1970 Beetle. $2000. Rubber mat flooring (no carpet), AM radio. A great car to learn on. I had that car completely apart a number of times. The air cooled engine was also a great learning exercise. Took that apart too.

    My sister had a 73-ish Super Beetle with massive electrical problems and no parking brake (she used a brick!). I worked on that POS every weekend for a year. It had the auto-stick (with a mechanical clutch) tranny.


  25. 25
    solo

     

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    Jan 10th, 2017 (3:22 pm)

    Looks like a very expensive car for the California rich.

    Another company starting from scratch with no manufacturing experience is going to jump headlong into building the single most complex end user product anybody is likely to ever buy.

    More expensive than Tesla’s most expensive model.
    Less reliable than a 2012 Tesla (that’s saying a lot!).

    I predict in the next 18 months:
    1: Faraday Future goes bankrupt before building any cars
    2: Tesla sells out to a legacy car company OR is bought out in a hostile take-over.
    3: GM sells a good number of Bolt’s and announces plans to build a small to mid size SUV with a Volt OR Bolt power-train (but not both).