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Faraday Future took the wraps off a concept race car on the eve of CES in Las Vegas Monday night that offers the first glimpse of the what the secretive electric-car startup’s consumer vehicles might look like when they enter production.
The Gardena, Calif.-based company, staffed with refugees from marquee auto and tech companies including BMW, Boeing, Ford, GM, Google, Apple, Jaguar, NASA and Tesla, also revealed a modular engineering system optimized for electric vehicles that will allow it to scale from compact cars to SUVs, said Nick Sampson, Faraday’s senior vice president of R&D.
Faraday has said that its production cars will offer unprecedented connectivity. One of the FFZERO1’s features is a smartphone integrated into the steering column that would serve as the interface between the car and driver.
Faraday has financial backing from Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting and has formed a strategic partnership with Jia’s Letv, an information and technology company that Sampson characterized as “the Netflix of China.” The partnership allows Faraday to access Letv’s experience in consumer electronics and providing content to multiple platforms from the cloud, and could presage a rethinking of entertainment in cars, especially with self-driving vehicles expected to become increasingly prevalent in the near future.
Sampson praised Tesla, his former employer — he also worked for Lotus and Jaguar — for creating “the first mass-market electric vehicle” but noted that where it taken Tesla nine years to launch the Model S, its first mass-market production vehicle, Faraday would move much faster.
Sampson pointed out that Faraday was founded 18 months ago and that it will break ground on a three-million-square-foot factory outside North Las Vegas in three weeks and produce its first car in the next two years. “I call that very fast,” he said.
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