Back from the dead, Faraday Future announces backing from Geely; targets Ferrari, Bentley, Maybach – paultan.org09/23/2021
Remember Faraday Future? Even if you do, it’s probably as an EV maker with big dreams but no results. Those dreams were very big, Tesla-beating big. The Nasdaq-listed, California-based company was founded in 2014 by serial entrepreneur Jia Yueting (known as YT), who filed for bankruptcy in 2019. However, the company managed to survive and even counts Palantir and Geely as backers now.
In January, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) announced that it has signed a framework cooperation agreement with Faraday Future (FF), which will see both parties cooperate in tech and engineering support. Then, it was said that the tie-up would also explore the possibility of using OEM production services provided by ZGH’s JV company with Foxconn, the giant electronics contract manufacturer known as the maker of iPhones.
Here are some business and product updates from FF, announced at the company’s annual “919 Futurist Day” event, held in both LA and China last weekend. The company says that 919 Futurist Day is an important platform for it to “co-create products and services with its users”. This year’s edition had FF 91 (that’s their EV) product and tech demos.
The event was reportedly attended by hundreds of people representing FF users, partners, car enthusiasts, employees, retail investors, potential users and “futurist product officers”. They participated in live comparisons between the FF 91 and the Mercedes-Maybach, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Lamborghini Urus. “After comprehensive evaluations were completed by the VIPs, the FF 91 was ranked first in overall sentiment,” its maker said.
“Many FF futurists gathered at FF’s headquarters on Sunday to witness the FF 91 being evaluated against numerous ultra-luxury top-brand vehicles. We witnessed the juxtaposition between the pinnacle of future technology and the traditional luxury strongholds, and the new generation of mobility replacing the long-standing automotive culture,” said founder and chief product officer YT, who also created LeEco before this.
“The results of this comparison showed that the FF 91 is equipped with unbeatable product and technology prowess and is the only product in the world that is one class higher than Model S/X/Plaid both in terms of performance and technology positioning,” YT said, referencing Tesla models.
If you thought that statement was bold, here’s the clincher. “Our priority is to deliver FF 91 to the hands of our global users, disrupt traditional ultra-luxury brands like Maybach, Ferrari and Bentley, and become No.1 in the global ultra-luxury user segment. This is the common mission of the Futurist Alliance,” he declared.
First unveiled at CES 2017 (with production planned for 2018), the FF 91 is today described as an “high-performance EV, all-ability car and ultimate robotic vehicle, allowing users to experience the third internet living space”. The electric car also “encompass extreme technology, an ultimate user experience and a complete ecosystem”.
The 1,050 hp EV has a 130 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with “immersive liquid cooling technology” and a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) time of 2.4 seconds. It employs tri-motor torque vectoring and the rear wheels are independently driven and controlled by dual rear motors. Claimed driving range per charge is over 300 miles (482 km).
Both FF 91 Futurist Alliance Edition and FF 91 Futurist models are also equipped with the industry‘s only super access point for internet connection at “light speed”, video streaming on the passenger information display, a rear intelligent internet system, an in-car video conferencing system, intelligent seamless entry, FFID face recognition, multi-touch eyes-free control, and zero gravity rear seats with the industry’s largest seating angle of 150 degrees.
I’m sure you’ll agree that all sounds very impressive, if only they can build this amazing thing. At the event, FF’s global CEO Carsten Breitfeld shared the progress made by FF in the areas of product capability enhancement, product testing, supply chain, manufacturing, sales, business development and talent recruitment.
Breitfeld said that FF’s US-China dual home market strategy has made an important breakthrough, as “substantial progress” is being made in the strategic cooperation between FF and ZGH, with the official completion of the first phase of technical cooperation. At present, the technical teams of both parties are “closely aligned for the acceptance and development preparation of the technologies” as FF seeks to grow its business in China.
By the way, ZGH was an anchor investor in FF’s recently completed SPAC business combination, so Geely is more than just a tech collaborator here. Its own Zeekr 001 EV isn’t on the same level as the FF 91 in tech and specs, but at least that car is in production.
Another big name partner is Peter Thiel’s Palantir. At the 919 event, Breitfeld outlined the partnership between FF and Palantir Foundry in the US and EU. The latter has made a strategic investment into FF and will allow the carmaker the opportunity to leverage Palantir Foundry to “develop disruptive products and services”.
“The partnership jointly explores ambitious innovations across the value chain to advance the mobility revolution, including leveraging Palantir’s experience with leading manufacturers such as FCA, Faurecia and Airbus, to accelerate the production ramp up and to drive down the costs of non-quality,” Breitfeld said. FF will use Foundry’s unique analytics and modelling infrastructure.
Reservations for the FF 91 are open, and the next business update will be at an investor day in December this year. So, are you prepared to want a Faraday Future over a Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini and Ferrari? If this world-beating EV is as impressive as its maker claims, here’s hoping that the car isn’t too far away.
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