FF91 – Is this the (Faraday) Future of Smart Cars?

Do you remember how we were picturing smart cars 10 years ago? Futuristic and wild pieces of technology built from outrageous materials which could perform complex tasks on their own.

2017 came by and none of that has quite come true. Electric vehicles look very much like a regular car, but some of them perform like a supercar. The latter is a valid aspect if you take a look at Faraday Future FF91.

The car has been unveiled in the first days of 2017 and some skeptics were quite impressed. Even if it’s not ready yet, we can and should have a look around the Faraday Future FF91.

The FF91, One of the Fastest Electric Smart Cars, Is Still in Beta

Faraday Future promised right from the start to tackle topics like autonomous driving and battery range with new approaches. In the first days of 2016, the company unveiled a concept called FFZERO1 – or the Batmobile, as some have called it.

It was a wild looking car just like the ones we were thinking about ten years ago.

But what they unveiled this year is rather closer to the present. The Faraday Future FF91 is advertised to be one of the fastest smart cars and a Tesla killer. Sadly, the car was still in beta when presented on stage.

The company claims their electric vehicle can reach 0-60 miles per hour in 2.39 seconds, while the fastest Tesla achieves the same speed in 2.5 seconds.

Other cool features presented include a self-parking function and a summoning function. Like you’d expect with almost all smart cars, both functions are controlled using your smartphone.

In terms of design, the Faraday Future does look interesting with “distinctive UFO lines.”

The Good

The fact Faraday was able to present a somewhat finished product to the public is a step forward. The company also claims it has received almost 65.000 reservations for its car in under 48 hours after the unveiling.

The price is yet unknown, but enthusiasts can sign-up for a Faraday Future FF91 with a refundable deposit of $5.000. The car is expected to be released in 2018.

You may be inclined to think competition is a good thing, especially for Tesla and the other big car manufacturers engaged in the race for the self-driving car. But FF91’s self-parking feature – which misfired on stage – isn’t that innovative.

Nevertheless, there is huge potential.

What’s different about the Faraday is this: the FF91 will be the first production vehicle to feature 3-D LiDAR technology. 30 cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radars will work together with laser pulses to create an almost real 360 degrees image of the surroundings, to enable more accurate self-driving capabilities.

Also, the Faraday Future FF91 will have Aerologic Wheels which can transform their shape kinetically to increase the driving range.

Other features include:

  • Facial recognition for accessing the car
  • A small display welcoming the owner to step inside
  • A camera video system for rearview mirrors
  • BeamCast Blades – for improved aerodynamics – which double up as a Wi-Fi hotspot
  • An optional refrigerator in the back.

The Bad

The fact Faraday is backed by a Chinese billionaire, Jia Yueting, isn’t bad. He is the founder and CEO of LeEco – a sort of China’s Netflix – with a net worth of around 3.8 billion dollars.

But Faraday is having big financial difficulties. First of all, the company has a stalled construction on a $1 billion factory in North Las Vegas, where the FF91 should be produced.

Also, some high-profile executives have left the startup. Nick Sampson, the company’s chief engineer told reporters in a Q&A session after the event “A company like FF… is a difficult company to work with.”

Last but not least, many have a hard time seeing the FF91 on the streets because of the lawsuits from suppliers for unpaid bills. Nick Sampson said that will be taken care of.

He also said the car will be sold in the US, as Faraday Future is a “US-based company”. Nick Sampson wanted to dismiss some claims the company will soon be purchased by its main investor – and probably move everything to China.

Wrapping Up

Only time will tell if Faraday Future manages to overcome all the challenges they face and give the world a finished product – a Tesla killer. Sadly, more car startups fail rather than succeeding.

Additionally, Tesla has learned from experience making the car is the easy bit. Producing it on a larger scale is far more difficult.

How do you feel about the FF91? Do you think there’s any chance they’ll ever release it? Let me know your thought in the comments section below.

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Philipp Kandal