Faraday Future, the massively spoken-of automobile company, finally unveiled its mystery product a few hours ago, at CES 2016. The Faraday Future FFZERO1 is a concept car whose design will make you question its viability. We have seen multiple concept cars in the recent past, from ambitious first-time automobile makers who have promised to change the face of future electric vehicles. Faraday Future, however, is different.
Backed by Chinese technology giant LeTV, there is a financial backing of billions of dollars, which has seen Faraday Future setup a battery plant at Southern Nevada, USA. The FFZERO1 concept itself is testament to the fact that Faraday Future might indeed be the future, and the likes of Tesla would possibly sit up and take notice of the milestone unveiling that happened yesterday, 8pm PST, at CES. Capable of running at 1000 horsepower, the FFZERO1 can reach 0-60mph in less than 3 seconds, and reach a top speed of 200mph, or nearly 360kmph. It features all-wheel drive, with one motor at each wheel. The roof is entirely glass, giving you a glimpse of the white carbon fibre interiors, and the smartphone panel fit into the steering wheel. It has space enough for one person, and the seat has been fit with Halo Safety System – a technology that will rest the driver’s head and neck to keep the drive more pleasant, and a helmet that will circulate oxygen and feed water to the driver.
"If you build a car for the future, you have to keep it modular from the very foundation"
All of this is what you will see towards the outer surface. While the production unit of the Faraday Future FFZERO1 will possibly look much different from what it looks like right now, it does fit the bill for a vehicle that aims to bring clean driving along with a futuristic experience. What edges Faraday Future more towards a possible success are the following two factors – the Variable Platform Architecture forming the base of the car’s chassis, and the subscription-based vehicle ownership model. In an interview with The Verge, Faraday Future’s Senior VP and in-charge of R&D and Engineering, Nick Sampson, said, “That platform is done on a very modular and flexible basis such that we can change the size of the platform. We can change the number and power of the drive systems. We can change the physical size and electrical size of the battery packs, so we can get bigger and larger packs and smaller packs both on the electrical size and physical size because of the modularity of how the battery architecture is being done, which is unique compared to anybody else in the industry. The underlying story is all about the platform that’s being built.”
The demonstration video by Faraday Future shows you the division of the car’s parts, and it is this that Sampson is stating – if you build a car for the future, you have to keep it modular from the very foundation. Our future is all about adaptability, and Faraday Future is listening to it. The subscription-based ownership model may be highly unusual, and may mean that you do not have to own one specific vehicle all along. For instance, you can request for a cargo vehicle one day if you need to, and the next day, ask back for your original sports car that you had originally purchased.
The Faraday Future FFZERO1 uses adaptable strings of batteries, from which cells can be removed or added to. The vehicle motors can also be altered between front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. Another interesting factor about the FFZERO1 is the way its control panel and instrument cluster is designed. The dashboard uses Faraday Future’s “Propeller IP”, which curves from around the driver’s shoulders and smoothly joins the front panel. The smartphone interface at the heart of the steering wheel is none other than your own smartphone.
The FFZERO1's Zero Gravity driving station is inspired by NASA's cockpit designs
A testament to the growing prowess of smart and connected everything, the Faraday Future hypercar will synchronise with an app that you will need to install on your phone, to control aspects like traction control and throttle response. Effectively, the car transfers your information to itself, and becomes an extension of your smartphone itself. “The thing about phones is they increase in value as you use them. You drive a car off the lot and its value tanks immediately. It's now a used vehicle. We're working toward that idea that the car is adapting to you, is actually increasing in value,” Faraday Future’s Design Head, Richard Kim, told Cnet’s Tim Stevens, at the Faraday Future conference.
The concept sounds like an arsenal in making. Faraday Future realises the potential of automobiles in the future, and has a concept that may actually work towards shaping our driving habits in future. But, there is still a long way to go. While many of us will wait for Faraday Future to unveil a production unit that it stated will be rolled out in 18 months, many will feel that there are too many blind alleyways that Faraday Future may walk into. Nevertheless, there is a sense of optimism, in the amount of technological innovation Faraday Future is preparing itself for.
In short, the Faraday Future FFZERO1 is a stunning look into the future of automation.