LAS VEGAS – After teasing the automotive world for months about “totally redefining the future of mobility” and dropping lots of hints about autonomous electric cars, mysterious new automaker Faraday Future finally unveiled itself to a packed audience at CES Monday evening, but it did not leave attendees much to go home with.
There was lots of talk about Faraday’s “amazing team,” “transformative vision” and its Variable Platform Architecture, a modular engineering system that will allow many vehicle variants, but there were few specifics about what kind of vehicles the automaker plans to build in a 3 million-sq.-ft. (279,000-sq.-m.) plant it plans to build in North Las Vegas that eventually will employ 4,500 workers.
And, while much of the company’s promotional materials seem to talk about building mainstream, high-volume vehicles that are designed to be shared and used in more social ways by using Internet connectivity, the highlight of the press conference was the unveiling of Faraday’s FFZERO1, a futuristic 1,000-hp electric race car that looks like a cross between a Ford GT and the Batmobile.
“The FFZERO1 Concept is an amplified version of the design and engineering philosophies informing FF's forthcoming production vehicles,” says Richard Kim, Faraday Future’s head of design. “This project liberated our designers and inspired new approaches for vehicle forms, proportions and packaging that we can apply to our upcoming production models.”
Faraday Future was rumored to be the new automotive unit of Apple, but executives made it clear Monday night the company actually is the brainchild of Chinese businessman JIA Yueting, the founder of LeTV, known as “the Neflix of China.”
In the past 18 months the company has assembled a staff of about 750 employees from BMW, Tesla, Apple and other top companies, but it did not discuss its business plan, who its customers will be or when it expects to be profitable.