Production Car Ready? Faraday Future FF91 the FF91 (Nine-One) was at last unveiled at the CES 2017 in Las Vegas. The car features a 130kWh li-ion battery, massive 700km NEDC (est.) range and shocking 2.39 second 0-60mph acceleration. Equipped with more technology than any other car before it, FF call it a the first of a new species of automobile / #Faraday-FF91
FARADAY FUTURE LIDAR SENSOR
A popup LIDAR sensor is seen on the new FF91 electric car concept from Faraday Future. A LIDAR is a device that works on the principles of radar, but uses laser light to pin-point items.
Enter the FF91 (“nine one”). TO be fair to FF, this time around they didn’t disappoint at CES. Although it’s difficult to consider a large SUV machine as a car for the masses, FF’s justification for this is to call it an entirely ‘new species’ of automotive future. And they have a point. While the traditional model for vehicles has been to make a machines capable of transporting humans from A-to-B, cars now have far more computing power than ever before. More powerful than that which sent man to the moon, as the clichéd saying goes.
No longer is it acceptable for passengers to sit idly enjoying scenery out the windows, instead they must be forever be connected to their virtual world’s. It’s a future vision that isn’t met wholly with praise, as currently the car environment offers us some respite from the mad world we live in. If FF and others have their way, this will no longer be the case and Faraday Future’s first production car will always be online. The company has invested a lot of time and effort in making this car the most connected to date. There’s dual wifi-antennae to ensure a consistent connection, a massive touchscreen and a load of other equipment designed to keep occupants occupied. Of course, it’s also autonomous although embarrassingly for the company the car acted out of turn during the live demonstration. It’s fair to say that technology has a habit of surprising us at the best of times, with computers randomly and inexplicably screwing up when we least expect it. We’re typically told that it’s the human operators at fault, that they didn’t press the right button or similar. However, true as this might typically be, the FF91 did its best to provide its creators with heart palpitations aplenty. Live streamed from the car park during FF91’s first parking demonstration, the car successfully found a space, paused, then continued on its journey for a moment leaving the commentator perplexed. The car then stopped and reversed into the space, albeit with slight trepidation and a couple of stabs at lining up. It did, however, manage to complete the exercise to much applause from the audience.
Unfortunately, a little while later and with billionaire founder and CEO of Faraday Future Jia Yueting (or YT Jia if you prefer) on stage, he was duly asked to press a button on the exterior of the car to tell it to head off in search of a parking space. The car did nothing. Nick Sampson, SVP of R&D was obviously flummoxed by this but skilfully played the occurrence down to the car being ‘shy’. It was an awkward moment for the company when so much rests on the success of their first car. Nonetheless, a short while later they tried again and this time dimmed the lights to allow a black clad stage hand to drive the vehicle away. Magic indeed.
This little hiccup caused some embarrassment for the company when it needed it least, but it shouldn’t distract from what they have achieved so far, which is nothing short of impressive. Whether the FF91 is good or not, that Faraday Future has been able to create it at all in such a short space of time is commendable.
There were lots of adjectives used throughout the presentation and its difficult not to come away from it thinking anything other than the FF91 is bigger, better, faster, stronger and superior in every way to everything else ever made by mankind before it.
But let’s just lay out some facts so you can decide.
There’s a LG Chem 130kW lithiumion battery, the capability to recharge at “500 miles per hour” using rapid charging or 4.5 hours from 50% to 100% using the supplied home charge wall box. This provides a 378-mile EPA (est.) rated range, or 700km NEDC (est.) and yes, it’s ‘better’ than Tesla’s current offerings. The electric motors provide a colossal 1,050HP (783kW), which propel the car using torque vectoring techniques from 0-60mph in an incredible 2.39 seconds. Autonomous tech comes with a 3D bonnet mounted lidar system, 10 HD cameras, 13 long & short range radars and 12 ultrasonic sensors. These enable the “driverless valet” system to automatically park the car at the press of a button. There’s facial recognition too and no need for a key to either enter or start the car. Despite SUV styling, the FF91 is a slippery thing, with a drag coefficient more slippery than Nigel Farage, at just 0.25cd.
One criticism of the FF91’s grand launch ceremony is that FF were, perhaps, a bit coy about nonheadline grabbing components. The interior, for example, wasn’t talked about much, aside from the connected car aspects and rear seating that offers ‘best in class’ reclining to suit the affluent owners likely to purchase a FF91. Faraday Future promises to deliver more information about the car later in the year.
Overall, FF is an interesting company to watch. There’s every chance they’ll be a genuine rival to Tesla and that’s no bad thing. Whether or not they succeed is another question entirely, but it’s early days yet and what they’ve managed so far is impressive, if a little disappointing that they’ve not gone for a more mainstream appeal car, like the Tesla Model 3.