Faraday Future unveils 1,000-HP electric concept racer

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Las Vegas — California-based electric carmaker Faraday Future late Monday night unveiled a futuristic-looking, 1,000-horsepower electric concept race car but said it’s still “a couple years” away from an actual production vehicle.

The carmaker, which has remained shrouded in secrecy until the reveal at the CES 2016 technology trade show, revealed details about its plans, which includes a vehicle architecture that can be easily changed, and the high-power FFZERO1 concept car.

“The FFZERO1 Concept is an amplified version of the design and engineering philosophies informing FF’s forthcoming production vehicles,” said Richard Kim, head of design for Faraday Future. “This project liberated our designers and inspired new approaches for vehicle forms, proportions and packaging that we can apply to our upcoming production models.”

The car includes a phone dock in the steering wheel, carbon fiber shell and a teardrop-like, aerodynamic profile. Its propeller-shaped, asymmetric instrument panel is a theme that will be incorporated into future vehicles.

The car will accelerate from zero to 60 in under three seconds, with a top speed in excess of 200 miles per hour. It could become fully autonomous.

“As a concept car, this vehicle confirms Faraday’s advanced engineering capabilities,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book. “Everything from its bizarre seating arrangement to its massive horsepower, and the likely sales price, would limit volume to a few hundred units. But the car adds credibility to the young EV company. If Faraday is on the cusp of creating a real-world vehicle with more conventional design and performance elements, and with substantial autonomous features, it could be a serious automotive entity in a relatively short time frame.”

Nick Sampson, Faraday’s senior vice president of research and development and product development, said the automaker is working to bring a production car to market within a few years, much faster than rival Tesla.

He said Faraday wanted to rethink what mobility and transportation mean and have a “willingness to be be more like a tech company than an automotive company.”

“While the traditional auto industry is focused on making better cars, we are redefining the very nature of vehicles and mobility,” he said.

Ding Lei, co-founder of leTV, the Chinese company that financially backs Faraday, said the company doesn’t just want to create a vehicle, it wants to build an Internet infrastructure and ecosystem to connect everything together.

The company will use a “variable platform architecture” to build its cars. The VPA uses a modular approach with a varying amount of batteries and wheelbase lengths that allows Faraday to come out with different vehicles in a short amount of time.

The architecture allows it to create multiple drive configurations, like front wheel drive or all wheel drive, helping it create everything from compact sedans to crossovers and trucks.

During a Monday night press conference, Sampson and other executives touted the comapny’s 550 employes, who include former engineers and employees at Tesla, BMW and even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In early December, the company announced plans to launch a brand new, state-of-the-art automotive production plant on 900 acres in Clark County’s Apex Industrial Park. It said the project would create more than 4,500 new jobs in Nevada.

“We plan to construct something more than an ordinary ‘assembly line’ — we’re creating a 3 million-square-foot workshop for passionate creators and diligent visionaries, where new concepts will be refined and implemented; where new discoveries will be conjured and crafted; and where new possibilities can be made, well, possible,” the company said in a press release.

Later in December, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval approved a $335 million incentive package to support Faraday’s plans.

Officials who negotiated the deal testified that they built protections into the bills that acknowledge the company’s short history. Faraday won’t be able to tap into all of its abatements until it meets a $1 billion investment threshold.

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