2015 was a busy year when it came to cars and 2016 and 2017 seem to be no different.
Faraday Future debuted a stunning electric vehicle concept at CES 2016 on Monday night. But Tesla can do a lot between now and 2018 (or thereabouts) when Faraday plans to bring out a real car.
Executives from Faraday Future, the Chinese billionaire-backed startup,were dropping buzzy-sounding ideas like Variable Platform Architecture, battery strings, and “aero-tunnels” Monday night. Jia Yueting, the billionaire founder and chief executive of LeTV — a Chinese media company with a market value of over ten billion dollars — is putting down some serious bucks. He’s one of the principals investing $1 billion in a 3 million square foot manufacturing facility on approximately 900 acres in North Las Vegas. The project would create 4,500 direct jobs on site.
But the first production vehicle won’t be here for “a couple of years,” as Nick Sampson, a senior vice president at Faraday and a former Tesla engineer, said on stage Monday night (to be fair, he used the word “only” when stating a couple of years and also had praise for Tesla: “Tesla and Elon Musk have created something we should all applaud them for”). The challenge is, in a couple of years, the Tesla Motors TSLA -2.38% Model X crossover will be a maturing platform and pouring out of Tesla factories. And of course that’s when the mass-market $35,000 Model 3 should hit the streets. And, needless to say, Tesla will have new car and technology announcements over the next couple of years.
Faraday claims it’s going to move fast and be able to crank out everything from FFZero1-like cars to SUVs to “even a pickup truck” based on its Variable Platform Architecture (see video at bottom). The VPA includes a battery structure arranged into “strings” — adding or removing strings changes the battery capacity and allows FF to develop new wheelbases. VPA also allows modular motor and power train configurations, including layouts with up to 4 motors and two or all-wheel drive systems.