After teasing the media and consumers with a racecar concept at the 2016 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, and then with a series of detailed close-up images and disguised prototypes of its first production vehicle shown in company videos drag racing primary competitors, Faraday Future (FF) has launched the real thing. At an exclusive off-site event in the lead up to the 2017 CES, the company revealed its first production vehicle, the technology-focused all-wheel-drive FF 91 electric vehicle.
Just as the launch sequence followed a unique formula, so does the FF 91 itself, mixing configuration elements of car, minivan, and crossover. The company claims it’s the first vehicle to combine supercar performance, precise handling, the comfort of an ultra-luxury passenger vehicle, and a unique collection of intelligent internet features. It measures 206.7 in (5250 mm) long, 89.9 in (2283 mm) wide, and 62.9 in (1598 mm) tall, on a long 126-in (3200-mm) wheelbase.
To lend importance to the launch and allay some concerns on the ongoing legitimacy and financial robustness of the company, FF trotted out its top executives for the launch, with Nick Sampson, Senior VP of R&D and Engineering, being the master of ceremonies for Hong Bae, Director of ADAS and Self Driving; Peter Savagian, VP of Propulsion Engineering; Richard Kim, VP of Design; and Jia Yeuting, Founder & CEO of China-based LeEco, the primary financial and technology backer of FF.
The FF 91 is built on the company’s Variable Platform Architecture (VPA), a flexible powertrain and monocoque structure. The VPA shown had all-wheel drive, claimed class-leading battery technology, multiple motor and battery configurations, and the company’s first patent—for the FF Echelon Inverter. The FF 91’s powertrain has a multi-motor setup, enabling rear-wheel torque vectoring.
Peak motor power is 783 kW (1050 hp), and motor-shaft torque is more than 1800 N·m (1328 lb·ft), which help to deliver a claimed production-record-breaking 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) acceleration time of 2.39 s. The company demonstrated the vehicle’s acceleration during the launch event in Las Vegas against major competitors: the Bentley Bentayga W12, Ferrari 488 GTB, and Tesla’s Model X and Model S (both with Ludicrous Mode).
The FF 91 configuration discussed is fitted with a 130-kW·h battery pack for a 378 mi (U.S. EPA est.) and over 700 km (European NEDC est.) range. The car is designed for 200-kW DC fast charging, with wireless charging to come. Range at a constant 55 mph (89 km/h) is 482 mi (775 km).
Samson claimed the vehicle has the highest energy density battery in the world. Engineered in partnership with LG Chem, it is positioned, like most recent pure EVs now, in the bottom of the chassis for more cabin space and a low center of gravity. The company also claims that the FF 91 has the fastest charge speed currently available, with the ability to charge at more than 500 mi (805 km) per hour. The included home charger achieves 50% of full charge in under 4.5 h at 240 V.
While more interior details are to come, the vehicle does have facial recognition technology, NASA-inspired zero-gravity seats, and claimed industry-leading rear-seat reclining position.
The FF 91’s exterior design is driven by aerodynamics to maximize range, with a 0.25 Cd. The wide stance and long wheelbase deliver a spacious interior. Each side door opens under power suicide-style by touch, with sensors preventing collision with surrounding objects. The exterior lighting communicates with approaching occupants and others on the status of the vehicle; for instance, the rocker panels illuminate with an approaching-owner confirmation sequence that brightens based on proximity.
Smart dimming technology is used in the roof, rear, and side windows enabled by PDLC (polymer dispersed liquid crystal) glass, which is activated by tapping for instant privacy and shade.
FF claims the ultimate in in-car connectivity, with the FF 91 learning user’s preferences over time to create a more personalized experience. To ensure consistent connectivity, this FF EcoSystem is powered by multiple in-car modems.
Also on the electronics front, the FF 91 features a hood-mounted-and-lit retractable 3D LiDAR for autonomous driving. It is combined with an overall ADAS/automated driving sensor system including 10 high-definition cameras, 13 long- and short-range radars, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. Their data are crunched by industry-leading computing power. One automated feature enabled by the sensor suite is a Driverless Valet parking feature.
The company is accepting FF 91 reservations for $5000 at its new website at FF.com. The first 300 orders will have the opportunity to upgrade to an exclusive launch series, the Alliance Edition, in March 2017. No pricing was announced, but production is planned to start in 2018—despite the company halting construction of its $1B assembly plant north of Las Vegas and reports that FF is overextended financially.
As of last November LeEco had spent 10B yuan ($1.475B), according to a letter to employees from Yueting that was made public. The company has stated that the Nevada plant construction will resume "in early 2017."Continue reading »