Electrek took our first ride in the Faraday Future FF 91 in Las Vegas yesterday. A Faraday test driver floored the 1,050-horsepower, limo-like sedan — and we held on for dear life while reclining in luxury. It was a rocket blast.
The handling was adept, thanks to the three-motor system, with torque-vectoring applied to rear wheels. The brief ride followed our exclusive interview with CEO Carsten Breitfeld about how Faraday will, finally, at last, bring a vehicle to market.
While previous incarnations of the FF 91 aligned closer to the Tesla Model X, the vehicle in Las Vegas was more like a Bentley or Rolls-Royce, with a long, lean, spacious cabin complete with a zero-gravity reclining seat.
Faraday had two examples in Vegas on the sidelines of CES 2020. Breitfeld had driven from Los Angeles to CES in the car. He told us that the FF 91 had 110 miles of remaining range after the 250-mile trip. Why a limo rather than an SUV? Here’s what Breitfeld said:
When I joined the company, this car was more designed like a top luxury car, small volume. But why would you do this? Because the experience is cool, the space, the connectivity, digital.
Breitfeld, who took the job in September 2019, was essentially making a test run of what could become a luxury, long-distance mobility service.
We would like to put some of those vehicles into operation for a transportation service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
He said the all-electric, luxe ride would be far superior to the hassle of flying from LAX to Sin City. The service could include getting picked up at your home.
Carsten Breitfeld with the FF 91
All the business-class passengers will feel [it’s] much better in our car. There must be a business model to… take most of the business class passengers away from the airlines.
According to Breitfeld, this is only a minor aspect of the any “mass-market” solutions that Faraday wants to provide. The recurring theme of Breitfeld’s comments was about the configurability of Faraday’s platform to create the broadest array of options.
In our 10-minute chat, Breitfeld discussed all the possible variations that could be produced with the FF 91’s long, low-slung platform and many seating options:
- An ultimate luxury variant for as much as $200,000
- A vehicle designed for fleet use by a mobility company
- A smaller, low-weight version
- An autonomous version with the front passenger seat used for a computer
On the technology side, models could be configured with one, two, or three motors for horsepower from 350 to 1,050 ponies. Battery packs could range in size from about 60 to 120 kilowatt-hours. Charging could be offered at higher than 200 kilowatts, via “flooded cell” technology.
We reeled the conversation back to more immediate, practical matters, like when anybody would be able to buy any Faraday Future vehicle in any form.
My very clear target, which I gave to the organization, is to deliver the first car to the first customer no later than Q3 of this year, 2020. This is our target.
I have to be very transparent, and this will be a small number of cars that are still built in a prototype process, but obviously [with] production technology. And then we are going to scale up production of the beginning from the end of the year in Hanford.
The overall capacity on hand for this year is around 30,000 units that we could reach. So in 2021, you will see a scale of the volume.
The test specialist who gave us the ride told us that the powertrain was “fairly dialed in,” but that new “user experience features were coming online all the time.”
Feeling the FF 91’s acceleration was a thrill. And it was fun to stretch out in the vehicle’s expansive cabin. But given FF’s track record, we have to take the CEO’s wide-ranging comments with another grain of salt.
Breitfeld is a skilled auto exec. He’s working with what appears to be a great vehicle and engineering platform. Now it’s time for the company to deliver vehicles that can be driven by real customers.
Fortunately, Breitfeld set a firm date of Q3 for the first deliveries. While that would be just a starting point, at least there’s a milestone we can use to determine if Faraday Future can deliver something, anything, on schedule.
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