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Faraday Future stirs up connected car space

Posted: 07 Jan 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Faraday Future  connected car  FFZero1  IHS  augmented reality 

Faraday Future (FF), one of the most hyped tech companies before the 2016 CES, will most probably remain in the spotlight even after the show. FF came to Las Vegas to formally introduce itself, with an avowed mission to design in Los Angeles and manufacture in North Las Vegas "better, cleaner and connected electric cars."

Nick Sampson, FF's SVP and head of product development, stressed that FF, which he calls a tech, not an automobile, company, will act on its plan "with an amazing team, transformative vision and alliances." More important, FF is promising to proceed with development at a speed "that's decisively fast," faster than Tesla.

FF took the wraps off its concept car, the FFZero1, an Internet-connected 1,000horsepower EV, on January 4 in Las Vegas. The unveiling was harder to get into than Club 54 and not even easy to find. The company never publicly revealed the location, although it had been teasing the event on its website since late last year with a countdown clock.

The FFZero1 looks like a one-seat race car whose design is both futuristic and oddly retro, with shades of Lotus Fords and vintage 'Vettes.

Since the FFZero1 is a 'concept car,' most likely it will never get produced, and it won't resemble FF's first commercial product, when the company is ready to roll it out in a few years, explained Mark C. Boyadjis, senior analyst and manager, infotainment and HMI at IHS Automotive.

Fittingly for the CES crowd, though, the FFZero1 appears to be just a sort of the car that can attract fans, geeks and technology experts.

But the most important thing to remember is that the FFZero1 is what Alfred Hitchcock called a maguffin, the shiny diversion that drives the story and keeps the audience's attention.

The concept car is built on the company's "variable platform architecture (VPA)." Richard Kim, head of global design at FF, explained that VPA would allow FF to use the same underlying structure on all its vehicles, adapting it to include anywhere from one to four motors, battery packs of various sizes, different types of wheelbases and other options.

In essence, the promise of VPA is that a range of models, very different from the FFZero1, could be rolled out in a relatively short span.

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