After months of speculation, the electric car startup Faraday Future finally revealed its first concept car on Monday at a press event in Las Vegas during CES.
The autonomous, Batmobile-like car, called the FFZERO1, is a race car that boasts more than 1,000 horsepower and can go from zero to 60 in under 3 seconds. It features four motors, one at each wheel, and can reach a top speed of 200 miles per hour.
In addition, the car is highly-connected, and is capable of learning each driver's preferences so that it will automatically adjust.
“I think it is the most breathtaking project that I have ever worked on or that I have ever seen,” Richard Kim, Faraday Future’s head designer, told Tech Insider. “The designers that I have worked with here are 10 plus years in the business, they are world class, and we all think it’s going to be the showcar of the decade.”
But before you get too excited, Faraday’s first concept is just that, a “showcar,” and is not likely to hitting the road any time soon, if ever.
While the company does have plans to have its cars on the road by 2020, the vehicle unveiled Monday is not its first production vehicle. It is a true concept car and it cannot actually be driven.
Faraday didn’t rule out the possibility of it eventually going into limited production, but it will likely be awhile before we know if this will actually happen.
Rather, the company said the FFZERO1 is meant to showcase the company’s design vision and engineering platform.
“The concept car is not our first production concept car, but it is a very distant cousin,” Kim said.
“It has the same engineering skateboard, but it’s done in a more intense performance based sort of concept. So if you take all the values from our company, crank up the volume and the performance, that is what the concept car is,” he said.
In other words, while the FFZERO1 is a really souped up version of what the company plans to roll out to the masses, many of its features will be included in production models.
The most important thing the production cars and the FFZERO1 will have in common is the engineering platform on which they are built.
Faraday Future’s Variable Platform Architecture (VPA) is a modular engineering system designed specifically for electric vehicles. Basically, the skateboard-style chassis can easily be adjusted by changing the lengths of the rails and other structures.
In addition, Faraday engineers also developed a new battery structure that is arranged in rows or as Faraday calls it, "strings." Adding or removing strings allows the company to change the battery capacity.
Combined, the new platform enables the company to develop new wheelbases and build a variety of electric vehicles quickly and efficiently.
“The modular platform can be changed in physical size using a very easy technique. The battery pack has been architected in a way that enables different size battery packs to be quickly and easily used,” Nick Sampson, Faraday’s vice president of research and development, told Tech Insider.
“Having designed, developed, and engineered one element of it, you practically replicate that element a number of times as we want bigger and bigger packs. This is different to how everybody is currently doing it.”
The company said its production cars will also have the same highly connected, predictive features shown in the concept car as well as a similar interface, with the smartphone having a reserved spot in the steering column.