Tesla will not face only the competition of the German automakers, such as Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. It will also have new companies trying their luck in the market, such as Faraday Future. Far from the vaporware junk that once in a while appears promising impossible cars, the company has already secured an US$ 1 billion investment to build a factory in North Las Vegas, Nevada. It will employ 4,500 people and production is slated to begin in 2017. Today, the company has an office in Los Angeles that employs 750 people. Summing up, these guys seem to be damn serious. Even if their first show car is not intended as so. Meet the FFZERO1, but bear in mind it is not the most important information about the company. What really matters is what Faraday Future only insinuates. More specifically at 1:10. Pay close attention.
Did you see it? It is the same image you see in the main position of this article. It is also the same silhouette you can guess by the shadow that appears at the end of the following video. More precisely at 1:10 (there must be something kabbalistic about 1:10…).
The company has presented more than once that it aims to produce a sort of a minivan or an SUV, considering it seems even larger than the FFZERO1. We hope it is a scale problem, since the wheels would look really small which such a huge body. Anyway, as Faraday Future defines it, the FFZERO1 is more than a concept car. It is a car of concepts. And one of the most important is related to its platform, called Variable Platform Architecture (VPA). A modular platform for electric vehicles, in other words.
Faraday Future has made a car that can have a variable wheelbase due to the amount of batteries it has in its pack. The company has called this arrangement a “string” of batteries, or as much as six packs put side by side and installed transversely on the platform’s floorpan. The resulting low center of mass has already proven fantastic for vehicle dynamics, or else the Model S would not receive so much praise. The VPA can receive as many strings as necessary. In the video, we see a range of four to six strings in a VPA. Apart from the crumple zones, which can be set according to vehicle size and mass, the front and rear modules are the same for every variant. They gather the suspension systems, which seem to be double wishbones in front and multilink in the rear, and the powertrain. The cars can be front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all wheel drive depending on where the company decides to place the electric engines. And it can put up to four of them in the platform with some deal of adaptation. Normally, it can have one in front and up to two in the rear.
The FFZERO1 has a central driving position in 45º, for a “weightless body position”, and a suit that has an integrated HANS device to protect the head and neck of the pilot. This suit can collect biometric data and even supply water and oxygen to the driver. The vehicle has three engines that deliver more than 750 kW. In theory, since the car is not a running prototype, it could reach more than 320 km/h and go from 0 to 96 km/h in less than 3 s. Faraday Future should seriously consider producing a running FFZERO1 that could prove the company’s claims. In theory, Dumbo can fly.
What really matters about this vehicle is what will come in 2017. Considering the speech from Faraday Future, its cars will be autonomous driving ready and may even not be sold, as regular vehicles, but only used, as a service for mobility. That would allow drivers to change vehicles for different needs whenever they needed it. A truck for carrying large stuff once in a while, then a small car for every day use and, finally, a minivan for the weekends. Which is not a new idea, but may gain a huge scale with the investment already predicted to be done in the company.
When you know it is a brainchild of Jia Yueting, the Chinese billionaire that owns LeTV, a technoly giant in China, the whole project gains even more credibility. Most of the executives from Faraday Future came from its future competitors, such as Tesla. If everything runs as planned, 2017 will witness a very interesting proposition for the automotive industry. Maybe a disruptive one.