After a long period of secrecy with a little teasing, Faraday Future revealed its concept car to the public. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the electric car start-up presented a futuristic vehicle loaded with technology. The concept called FFZERO1 is a real all-electric supercar with over 1,000 horsepower and a 0-60mph acceleration in less than 3 seconds due to its ‘Quad Core Motors’. With these specs, the FFZERO1 leaves Tesla Motor’s Models S and X in the dust. But it has yet to be seen if Faraday Future will actually build this model. Actually, key persons from the company admitted that the FFZERO1 was presented as a ‘car of concepts’ to show what the company is all about.
Variable Platform Architecture
By presenting a concept car with a high ‘wow-factor’, Faraday Future certainly attracted a lot of (media) attention. But the most interesting feature of the company may be its ability to produce a wide range of electronic vehicles on its platform. Volkswagen shows the potential of a certain production architecture with its MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten). All brands within the VW Group share a common engine-mounting core for example. Faraday Future is looking to do the same, or even better, with its ‘Variable Platform Architecture’. Its engineers designed VPA to create modular battery and wheelbase configurations. The company started with a new battery structure arranged in ‘straights adding’. Thanks to VPA’s possibilities of a flexible wheel basis, it’s easy to adjust battery capacity. As such, the platform can create supercars like the FFZERO1 with a large wheelbase and battery capacity. By reducing wheelbase and battery capacity, more common cars can be created. As a result, VBA offers the company so much flexibility it can produce a wide range of cars to serve the market.
And that’s the reason why only 18-monhts-old Faraday Future is years ahead of its ‘peer’ Tesla. Whereas Tesla is limited to the production of only two models in the higher end of the car market, Faraday Future, once operational in its to-be-build production site, reaches out to various target groups of consumers. Therefore, the company is directly competing with the traditional car makers that offer different classes of vehicles. To be fair, Tesla is already delivering its cars to consumers. Nevertheless, the Palo Alto-based company is far from being a mass producer, with only 50,000 sales per year. CEO Elon Musk reportedly has said that Tesla will need to sell over 500,000 cars to stay profitable. There’s a Model 3 in development that is targeted towards the mass-market. Delivery to customers is projected to start by late 2017. But this model will have its own unique design and doesn’t share much of Tesla’s other models. Although the Model X shares the same platform as the Model S, only 30% of the parts are the same. From a production platform architecture, Faraday Future is already in front of the direct competition. At the CES, Senior Vice President Nick Sampson noted that the company now employs 750 people, much more than Tesla when it was the same age.
Still unsolved EV-issues
But flexible architecture doesn’t solve the issue all EV producers face: the problems of relatively short action range and the limited recharge infrastructure. Plus, Faraday Future’s batteries are far less quickly charged than conventional cars filled their gasoline or diesel tanks. Also, it will take quite a while before we will see a first car on the road. Chief engineer & designer Richard Kim (who previously designed the BMW i3 and i8 exterior) said to Jalopnik it will take “a couple of years” before the much-anticipated vehicles hit the road.
What about the future of mobility?
Faraday Future’s presentation also disappoints when we’re looking beyond the traditional car and production features. The company profiles itself as a disruptor in the mobility sector and doesn’t want to be called a car producer. But there’s not much exciting to report on this field. Thanks to the
backing by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting of LeTv (the largest online video company in China), the FFZERO1 has access to live images and real time data visualization. But this seems rather gimmicky. Also we’re still guessing what are Faraday Future’s exact on-demand mobility plans. For now, there’s not a lot of substance for a real change in mobility compared to our current day-to-day experience. Nevertheless, with the unveiled Variable Platform Architecture, Faraday Future proves to be a very serious contender for the traditional car industry.