A newcomer to the automotive industry unveiled a new electric concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 4. Faraday Future (great name!) is a Los Angeles-based startup backed by Jia Yueting, the billionare founder of LeTV (China’s version of Netflix). The new car isn’t quite as extreme as the Mercedes “luxury lounge on wheels” that debuted at last year’s CES, but Faraday Future’s FFZERO1 is still generating plenty of buzz for its high-tech design.
With an electric motor at each wheel, the car can go as fast as 200 miles per hour and accelerate from 0 to 60 in less than three seconds. The vehicle’s body includes an “aero tunnel design” to reduce drag and helps keep the battery cool. The project team consulted with aerospace experts to design a seat inspired by NASA’s zero gravity design that promises to reduce driver fatigue and give a sense of weightlessness. The car is fully-connected, with a smartphone built into the steering wheel. Augmented reality is displayed on the interior, as well as projected onto the road, making the car a virtual copilot. But that’s only the beginning. Like many automakers, Faraday Future plans to add increasing levels of autonomy, eventually building a self-driving vehicle.
The company’s plans for the future are more radical than the vehicle itself. It suggests a subscription model, where a self-driving car would pick you up wherever and whenever you request it. Or even better, the car would already know your schedule, so it would automatically bring you to your next appointment, and maybe even suggest restaurant you might like to stop at along the way. The cars will be produced efficiently, with a modular approach that includes a flexible battery layout to allow customized electric vehicles to be built around the same platform architecture.
As exciting as it looks and sounds, Faraday Future’s self-described “tablet on wheels” won’t be picking up passengers anytime too soon. The company’s website is clear: “the FFZERO1 Concept vehicle is a test bed and a parallel study from which our design and engineering teams continue to draw inspiration and solutions for our future range of clean, intuitive electric vehicles.”