Nearly a year after first teasing the world with a prototype, Faraday Future unveiled its first prototype, the crossover-style FF 91. Engineers and executives at the California-based, China-backed electric vehicle company set their sights on showcasing its first passenger vehicle’s blazing acceleration, pitting it against a Bentley Bentayga, Ferrari 488 GTB, and, of course, industry benchmarks both the Tesla Model X P100D and Model S P100D.
Faraday's FF 91 set a new record of 2.39 seconds in the trial, besting the Tesla Model S P100D’s 2.5 seconds based on the company’s own internal testing.
Helping defy gravity with a staggering 1,050 horsepower, the FF 91 also eliminates range anxiety with a quoted 378 miles of range (that’s the equivalent of driving from Los Angeles to Silicon Valley on one charge). Both figures exceed a range of top end vehicles. Over the past year, "we have moved from the idea of a company to a company with fully functioning beta vehicles," Nick Sampson, Faraday's senior vice president of R&D and engineering, said in Las Vegas on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show. "We have to flip the automotive industry back on its head, break it down, and build it up the way it should have been in the first place, independent of fossil fuels."
Executives also demonstrated the FF 91’s ability to successfully navigate a parking lot and park itself. Owners can send and summon it through a smartphone application, and the car packs 30 sensors including cameras and radar for multilevel active safety layers that, the brand says, is “future proof” for continuous adaptation.
Beyond that, the car packed other tech gadgets like a dual antennae that allows a WiFi hotspot, facial recognition that allows for keyless entry (there’s no physical car key), and 151 cubic feet of space internally. On stage, the company tried to activate one segment of its self-driving parking technology, but it failed to operate.
In March, one FF 91 will be auctioned off for charity at an undisclosed event benefiting an environmental charity. The main production run will come in late 2018.
As for price, Faraday remained mum, saying only that the company aims "to deliver the value of an ultra-luxury car at the price of a premium sedan." Most premium sedans, vehicles such as a BMW 7-Series or Mercedes S-Class, can run north of $100,000.
While FF 91 may be faster than a Tesla, it already has other would-be rivals nipping at its heels — mainly in the form of the newly announced Lucid Air, the product of another California-based electric car start-up. Lucid Motors recently began taking $2,500 deposits for its car, due later this year, and will cost as much as $160,000. Lucid says its car can be upgraded to provide a 400-mile range on electric power.
Lucid Air will have sensors for autonomous driving, as will Faraday's FF 91. In addition, Tesla also is currently producing Model S and Model X sedans that are packed with self-driving sensors that will gradually be activated via software updates as the technology is proven.
Deposits to the tune of $5,000 for a launch edition FF 91 are currently being taken at FF.com, but normal Joes can also simply sign up and reserve a spot gratis.