After months of conspiracies, rumours, reports of mysterious investments and a spree of autonomous expert hirings, Faraday Future have unveiled their very first concept car...it wasn't quite what we all expected.
Until today, you would have been forgiven for saying you’d never heard of Faraday Future. A company shrouded in mystery, they quickly became the automotive equivalent of the Men in Black; gaining massive secret investment, covertly employing prevalent members of the automotive world and even being named a cover up for the rumoured Apple autonomous car. After months of secret whisperings, Faraday Future have finally broken cover at the 2016 CES tech show in Las Vegas.
Their debut concept car has been named ‘FFZero1’ and is a battery-powered design concept that is capable of autonomous driving and demonstrates Faraday Future’s ‘Variable Platform Architecture’ - a new modular platform that could be easily adapted for use in a multitude of vehicles types, from hatchbacks to pick-up trucks, allowing for fast production of multiple car models. Featuring an electrically funded 1000bhp and styling similar to that of a Batman designed racing car, it certainly isn’t what we expected from Faraday Future.
Despite the aforementioned power stat and aesthetics that have previously only featured at Le Mans or on the big screen, the idea behind FFZero1 isn’t all out speed – instead it’s one of connectivity and creating a vehicle that has a ‘sixth sense for its driver’s intentions and needs’. To this end, the FFZero1 features all of the standard connection you’d expect from a futuristic concept car (head-up display for example) but also brings to the table the ability to use augmented reality, an intuitive UI and steering wheel based smartphone integration that allows the driver to extensively customise driving modes and set up the car remotely before becoming an important part of the FFZero1’s driving display.
The FFZero1 is powered by four quad-core electric motors that get their power from a centrally mounted battery structure. Surrounding the motors and batteries is a heavily aerodynamic concerned body that is built from a selection of lightweight composites – carbon fibre of course makes an appearance. The result of combining a super-lightweight body and 1000bhp is an assortment of performance stats that, whilst still vague, leave us very excited – 0-60mph in “less than three seconds” and a top speed “in excess of 200mph”. If any further futuristic racing car feel was needed; the FFZero1 features racing suspension, torque vectoring, “advanced vehicle dynamic control” and a single seat with an F1 style driving position in the cockpit.
Aesthetically, the FFZero1 looks somewhat like a closed cockpit Le Mans Prototype, with a long and sharp silhouette that sits low to the ground and takes no shame in flaunting its many aggressive aero features. Taking centre stage at the rear of the FFZero1 is an integrated tailfin that provides directional stability, improved aerodynamics and a digital space to display vehicle charge, driver name and track position.
Sitting just forward of the tailfin, the closed cockpit boasts space for a single occupant who sits in a seat that takes inspiration from NASA zero gravity design to make the driver feel weightless. This centrally positioned seat is then surrounded by futuristic materials and forces the driver’s focus upon high definition displays that allow them to take advantage of the FFZero1’s enhanced connectivity.
Unfortunately, FFZero1 is a concept car that probably won’t see production and is instead a platform to show Faraday Future’s intentions. In interviews throughout CES 2016, Faraday Future have announced that they are on course to release their first production car in 2018 and are currently looking to employ over 4,500 workers and invest more than £679m in their new Las Vegas based production plant.