Automotive

Faraday Future's FF91 launch: A stumbling start for the new king of electric cars

Faraday Future's FF91 launch: ...
Faraday Future FF91: 1050 horsepower, more torque than a Mack truck, class-leading range and charging times, and 0-60 in 2.39 seconds. It's a beast.
Faraday Future FF91: 1050 horsepower, more torque than a Mack truck, class-leading range and charging times, and 0-60 in 2.39 seconds. It's a beast.
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Faraday Future's FF91: signature glowing disc on the hood is the 3D Lidar sensor
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Faraday Future's FF91: signature glowing disc on the hood is the 3D Lidar sensor
Faraday Future FF91: launched today at CES Las Vegas
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Faraday Future FF91: launched today at CES Las Vegas
Faraday Future CEO Nick Samson and LeEco CEO YT Jia wait for the FF91 to park itself. It did not.
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Faraday Future CEO Nick Samson and LeEco CEO YT Jia wait for the FF91 to park itself. It did not.
Faraday Future FF91: reverse-opening rear doors and lush interior
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Faraday Future FF91: reverse-opening rear doors and lush interior
A moment of Triumph at the Faraday Future CES launch
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A moment of Triumph at the Faraday Future CES launch
Faraday Future FF91: panoramic roof 
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Faraday Future FF91: panoramic roof 
Faraday Future FF91: 1050 horsepower, more torque than a Mack truck, class-leading range and charging times, and 0-60 in 2.39 seconds. It's a beast.
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Faraday Future FF91: 1050 horsepower, more torque than a Mack truck, class-leading range and charging times, and 0-60 in 2.39 seconds. It's a beast.
Faraday Future FF91: unmistakeable design will stand out
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Faraday Future FF91: unmistakeable design will stand out
Faraday Future FF91: built on a multi-vehicle platform
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Faraday Future FF91: built on a multi-vehicle platform
Faraday Future FF91: luxury, extreme performance and connectivity
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Faraday Future FF91: luxury, extreme performance and connectivity
Faraday Future FF91: exterior lights change colour to send messages
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Faraday Future FF91: exterior lights change colour to send messages
Faraday Future FF91: sleek aeros help the FF91 achieve class-leading range figures such as 482 miles at 55 mph
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Faraday Future FF91: sleek aeros help the FF91 achieve class-leading range figures such as 482 miles at 55 mph
Faraday Future FF91: windows self-tint in privacy mode
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Faraday Future FF91: windows self-tint in privacy mode
Faraday Future FF91: sliding panoramic roof
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Faraday Future FF91: sliding panoramic roof
Faraday Future FF91: 3D Lidar sensor on the hood becomes a very recognisable design feature. It pops up when the car is self driving
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Faraday Future FF91: 3D Lidar sensor on the hood becomes a very recognisable design feature. It pops up when the car is self driving
Faraday Future FF91: eye-catching exterior lights
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Faraday Future FF91: eye-catching exterior lights
Faraday Future FF91: wheels convert at speed to assist with aerodynamics
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Faraday Future FF91: wheels convert at speed to assist with aerodynamics
Faraday Future FF91: panoramic roof
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Faraday Future FF91: panoramic roof
Mirrors contain camera sensors - and they're removable and modular like many other aspects of the car, for possible future upgrades
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Mirrors contain camera sensors - and they're removable and modular like many other aspects of the car, for possible future upgrades
Faraday Future FF91: 2.39 seconds to 60mph is beyond ludicrous, if you'll pardon a little Tesla pun there
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Faraday Future FF91: 2.39 seconds to 60mph is beyond ludicrous, if you'll pardon a little Tesla pun there
Faraday Future FF91 looks for a park in the CES lot
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Faraday Future FF91 looks for a park in the CES lot
Faraday Future FF91 finds a parking spot and starts to back in
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Faraday Future FF91 finds a parking spot and starts to back in
Faraday Future FF91:  driverless valet mode lets you drop yourself off at the front door wherever you're going, while the car parks itself
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Faraday Future FF91:  driverless valet mode lets you drop yourself off at the front door wherever you're going, while the car parks itself
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Faraday Future might be making some of the most exciting electric cars on the market right now, but if I ever have to watch one of their presentations again, I may leap in front of one just to end the pain. In an excruciating 90-minute cringe-fest at CES Las Vegas, the company told the assembled masses it wasn't building an electric car, it was building the "first of a new species," and preparing to "reformat the auto industry."

I suspect company leadership will look back and wish it had reformatted the presentation. The long-awaited reveal of the FF91, Faraday Future's first flagship consumer car, was nearly buried under a ceaseless torrent of buzzwords, unnecessary demonstrations and embarrassing cock-ups.

In a boring and drawn-out car-by-car drag race, the FF91 edged out Tesla's Model S P100D by just 1/100th of a second, prompting propulsion VP Peter Savagian to claim it would do much better if the stage wasn't so dusty, and the Tesla didn't have such grippy tires on.

Faraday Future CEO Nick Samson and LeEco CEO YT Jia wait for the FF91 to park itself. It did not.
Faraday Future CEO Nick Samson and LeEco CEO YT Jia wait for the FF91 to park itself. It did not.

Then, as CEO Nick Samson asked YT Jia, CEO of LeEco, to hit the button to make the car park itself center stage, the audience was treated to a 30-second wait as the car did … well, nothing, prompting Samson to scramble for explanations like "as a new baby, she's often very, very timid." Five minutes later, he tried again, and this time, after an agonizing 20-second wait, it rolled three meters forward, to a smattering of bemused applause from the CES crowd.

Please, Faraday Future, cut down on the onanism and keep the next one to 20 minutes. Leave us wanting more, not pining for the sweet release of death.

Now that we've got that out of the way, the car itself looks pretty terrific.

Faraday Future FF91: built on a multi-vehicle platform
Faraday Future FF91: built on a multi-vehicle platform

Face-melting performance figures

Performance-wise, the FF91 sedan makes about 1,050 horsepower and a ludicrous "over 1,800 Newton-meters" of torque. For reference, an 11-liter MP7 diesel engine from a frickin' Mack semi-trailer makes "just" 1,627 Nm of torque, and it certainly doesn't smash it out from idle like the Faraday powertrain does.

With super-quick traction control operating, the FF91 is said to be able to accelerate from 0-60 in an eye-watering 2.39 seconds. If you dropped this thing off a cliff, it'd take 2.75 seconds to reach the same velocity. It's a clear demonstration that EV acceleration will really only be limited by the tire-to-road friction interface as the segment progresses.

An interesting tidbit thrown into the launch is that the FF91 will attempt to proactively adjust performance and handling depending on road conditions and your driving style.

Faraday Future FF91: luxury, extreme performance and connectivity
Faraday Future FF91: luxury, extreme performance and connectivity

Batteries and charging

Battery-wise, the FF91 boasts the biggest battery pack yet seen in a production EV – some 130 kilowatt-hours of capacity, leading to an impressive 378-mile (608-km) range, on the EPA adjusted test. On Europe's gentler NEDC test it gets even more – over 435 mi (700 km), and the car will go a very impressive 482 mi (776 km) at 55 mph (89 km/h).

Even more impressive are the DC quick charge stations Faraday is working on, which will pump power in at up to 200 kilowatts – a massive improvement on Tesla's 120 kW supercharger stations. That kind of charge rate represents about 500 miles (805 km) of range per hour, an extraordinary achievement. The company is also working on wireless charging.

Faraday Future FF91: sleek aeros help the FF91 achieve class-leading range figures such as 482 miles at 55 mph
Faraday Future FF91: sleek aeros help the FF91 achieve class-leading range figures such as 482 miles at 55 mph

Autonomous driving and driverless valet

Faraday Future hopes to up the ante in self-driving systems with the FF91, in particular by boosting the car's ability to see and read the road. It features 10 outward facing cameras (the Tesla has 8), 13 radars (the Tesla has 1), and 12 ultrasonic sensors (the Tesla's got 12, too).

It's also got a 360-degree "3D" Lidar sensor, in the form of a little disc that rises up out of the hood and becomes one of the FF91's most recognizable design features.

While it's unclear as yet how well the self-drive system will work (there's some suggestion that it will use deep learning to build its driving model), Faraday has built in a very nifty feature called the driverless valet, which lets you effectively drop yourself off at the front door of wherever you're going, and the car will wander around looking for a place to park itself, and send you a message when it does.

Clearly that's dubious from a legal perspective at this point, and indeed it's hard to see how it would work in a real-world scenario, but in the CES parking demo it worked well, driving up and down the rows of parked cars to find a spot, and reversing neatly in.

Faraday Future FF91: reverse-opening rear doors and lush interior
Faraday Future FF91: reverse-opening rear doors and lush interior

Connectivity and comfort

Faraday Future is keen to make the FF91 a big leap forward in connectivity. It features multiple modems and Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as individual HD screens for everyone in the car and "zero gravity" vented back seats that recline up to 60 degrees back for extreme passenger comfort.

User profiles, activated by menus, Bluetooth or even face recognition, save each person's preferences for entertainment, ergonomics, climate and whatever other tricks the car has up its sleeve through a system called FFID, and it appears this system will integrate with smartphones, PCs and other devices so you never have to take your eyes off whatever you're watching or reading. The goal here is seamless motion between the many screens and speakers in your life.

Faraday Future FF91: 3D Lidar sensor on the hood becomes a very recognisable design feature. It pops up when the car is self driving
Faraday Future FF91: 3D Lidar sensor on the hood becomes a very recognisable design feature. It pops up when the car is self driving

Pricing and availability

No final price was revealed today, although the company stressed that the FF91 will be priced as a "premium flagship model" – and given the level of specification and performance, as well as that giant battery, we can expect it'll be hefty.

For US$5,000, people to whom price doesn't matter (and there's plenty of those in the Valley) can reserve one now, and "Alliance" special editions will begin to ship in March.

Source: Faraday Future

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16 comments
MartinVoelker
In the last days two Faraday executives have jumped ship, their factory is on hold, and money problems are impeding them from going forward. I think their jargon filled presentation is the least of their worries.
Milton
I'm hoping for the best for them, but anyone who was holding off on buying a P100D is probably ordering one right now.
Man... what a bad presentation. Next time they should just pick someone at random from the audience to give it.
Daishi
If they had trouble getting the thing to move to the middle of the stage autonomously for the presentation you can promise the rest of the autonomous features aren't going to be fully baked before a March delivery. That's a difficult problem that takes time to solve. If I had to guess on price I would say north of $200k.
MichaelMahoney
The new King ? Poor choice of words kind of like ....
VincentWolf
If you think Tesla will be sitting still while it takes 3 to 5 years for production to begin on the FF91 your sadly mistaken. Tesla has planned for a while to put the rear 525 hp motor in the front and back of a future Tesla--producing the same 1050 hp. And it will upgrade batteries soon to 120+ kWh. So let the games begin--0 to 60 in 2.25 seconds is achievable and already the FF91 on paper is faster than any production gasoline car ever made--past and future.
Alatar
Nicely done - "If you dropped this thing off a cliff, it'd take 2.75 seconds to reach the same velocity."
Papabear
Nothing is completely useless. It can always be used as a bad example. Every student in business school should be forced to watch that presentation as a textbook example of what not to do.
Derek Howe
I'm not a big fan of it's looks. Nice specs & features though, hope they can secure some funding and bring it to market, but at 150k or so, I'm not their buyer. The Tesla model 3 is to rich for my blood.
Gavin Roe
make a car that does 160kms/hr 500kms and can be recharged in 10mins then talk to me
myale
My car does 0-60 in 12 seconds and is perfectly adequate for all Day to day driving - unless I was looking for a drag racer why would I look for a car based on its 0-60 seconds. Perhaps it is just me - but it just seems to be a waste. Perhaps someone can explain why the 0-60 seconds time is so important in terms of it makes the car more economical - able to go further to alleviate range anxiety - makes it able to charge faster - all the things that seem to important if I was considering buying an electric car