Faraday Future plans to break ground on the factory north of Las Vegas in the next few weeks, a futuristic space that the company sees as a tourist destination. "We are moving fast," Morris says. "Showing a high-performance vehicle speaks to our DNA. The company’s been around for less than 18 months, and we’re now up to 550 employees in Southern California. Bringing a car to market, we’re trying to do it as quickly as possible, but we are going to make sure that quality is a priority."
But again, the FFZERO1 isn’t a production car, and it has a very different exterior from the covered prototype . "The concept is an amped up version of this platform," says Faraday spokesperson Stacy Morris. "It’s going to have four motors. It’s a one-seater hypercar." She compares the design of the battery pack to the look of a Hershey bar: the concept uses adaptable strings of batteries, in which rows of batteries can be removed or added. The placement of the motor can also be shifted within the platform to make a vehicle that is front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive.
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The design features a glass roof, which offers a clear view of the white carbon fiber interior and some of the car’s more novel ideas, like a smartphone mount in the center of the steering wheel, the Halo Safety System that supports the driver’s head and neck, and a helmet that feeds the driver water and oxygen. The instrument panel is also designed to gather biometric data about the driver.
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The source of Faraday’s obviously substantial funding has been a mystery, but that’s finally coming into focus this week, too: the company has announced a strategic partnership with Chinese media firm LeTV, headed by billionaire Jia Yueting, who has reported to be the primary investor in the company’s new $1 billion, . "We are two separate companies, but we are leveraging their expertise with technology and content," Morris says of LeTV, while touting Faraday’s "diverse funding strategy."
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"We’re working with the biggest and best battery cell suppliers in the world and working with them to design the architecture and battery packs, which will be done in house, in a way similar to the Tesla model," Sampson says. "They work with Panasonic, but the packs are all done by Tesla. We are designing our own packs and our own control systems." Faraday declined to disclose who its cell suppliers are, however.
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That kind of flexibility is important: Faraday has hinted at operating under an unusual business model, where users would "subscribe" to a plan that gives access to autonomous vehicles of different types depending on their needs. A subscriber could request a cargo vehicle on one day, for instance, and a sporty sedan on the next.
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Even though it still doesn’t have a real product in sight, Faraday asserts that its nimble structure gives it an edge over traditional automakers. "We’re able to take opportunities and can change plans quickly," Sampson says. "Largely things are going in the direction we wanted, but also the type of organization we’ve set up, we need to be dynamic and flexible. We need to be able to react to need, which is one of our advantages. Our whole ecosystem is about being adaptable and flexible."