Fresh on the scene, newborn electric vehicle startup Faraday Future is gearing up to debut its Tesla Model S rival (in concept form) at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Not much is known about the new automaker, mostly because it hasn’t been seeking out media attention — at least not yet. In just about a month’s time, though, the LA-based brand will debut an all-electric, autonomous concept meant to surpass Tesla’s technology and reach production in 2017. Because the concept will still be in pre-production form, it’s just meant to give the world a taste of what Faraday’s been up to, taking shape as an aerodynamic sedan or a crossover with BMW X6-like proportions.
Among the new vehicle’s highlights is its battery, with 15 percent more capacity than Tesla’s 85kW unit and a range of at least 300 miles.
Faraday Future has secured some high-level talent from direct rivals, including Nick Sampson, Dag Reckhorn, Alan Cherry, and Tom Wessner, all of whom were senior managers at Tesla. Just recently, Richard Kim joined as head of design. Kim designed the BMW i3 and i8 and now manages a team of designers hailing from BMW, Audi, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. By year’s end, the company expects to have around 500 employees.
At the LA Auto Show, Kim gave a preview of what’s to come from Faraday’s models. “We’re talking about consumer tech being more advanced. My thermostat at home knows exactly what I want. Why isn’t the car there yet? I want to touch on the simple things, the small things we can do as we wait for autonomous driving. What can we do now? I want to see a scenario where you sit in traffic for two hours, where you’re connected, there’s aromatherapy and a really nice chair in an ergonomic position. You can get a ton of work done, watch a movie. With time, you don’t just want to connect, you want to be able to disconnect and relax.” Sounds like a pretty good setup to me.
In terms of business growth, Kim compared Faraday’s approach to Uber’s, where customers would be able to sign up and lease different cars depending on specific needs. Speaking to Bloomberg, Sampson said that Faraday Future “will launch a single model and follow with a range of vehicles in a faster way than others have achieved. We’re looking at seven different vehicles.”
To get there, the startup is investing $1 billion in a new factory, backed in part by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting. It is not known if the firm is also in league with companies like Apple, as previously rumored. There’s a lot on the table if Faraday Future can succeed in what it’s attempting, and certainly some big tech companies have their eye on the newcomer.
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