The downside of being really passionate about something? It'll make you a snob.
Take a Times food critic. You'll think you're eating the best meal of your life, then Pete Wells comes along, lifts his leg and deems it inedible.
Knowing this, I try to adjust for pessimism and report somewhere between hype and bullsh*t when a new car comes out. So while everyone has their panties in a twist about the Faraday Future FF 91 — the long-awaited "Tesla slayer" that just (finally) debuted at CES — I’d like to remind you that this company doesn’t even have a factory right now.
In fact, it's been a rough year for Faraday altogether. Their presentation at CES 2015 was thick with promise but ultimately unfulfilling. And in the 12 months that followed, they’ve been defined by disorganization, financial upset, factory delays and staff churn.
Suffice to say, at today’s big show, they had a lot to prove.
The self-proclaimed “new species” of car, the FF 91, did deliver (in concept) on specs — in a big way. On the tech side, it’s reported to have 10 front- and rear-facing cameras, 13 long- and short-range radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a hi-def 3D LIDAR set, making for the most bananas autonomous sensory package to date. Other bells and whistles include intuitive atmospheric and safety preferences for each seat via Faraday's patented ID ecosystem, which also uses Bluetooth and facial recognition tech for seamless entry. Additionally, the car’s exterior lighting will communicate its autonomous mode to pedestrians, seek out hotspots through its dual antennas and adjust the wheels to meet varying road conditions.
And to show that the FF 91 would ease any parking woes, the makers had the car search out its own spot and park itself via the FF CTRL smartphone app. Which is very cool. Audi thinks so too. They pilot-parked a car four years ago. Most notable, though, was the company’s claim that they now hold the record as the fastest electric vehicle, with a 0-60 time of 2.39 seconds. They demonstrated this by showing a video of the FF 91 racing a Tesla Model X and Model S ... in which viewers couldn't see the finish line.
Exciting? Yes! A little shady? Also, yes!
Additionally, the interior of the car wasn’t up to snuff. And when FF brought out a second, more production-ready make, they couldn’t get it to autonomously drive away as planned. Kinda embarrassing.
But assuming it’s not all snake oil, the FF 91 will boast a boisterous (and perhaps totally unnecessary) 1,050-HP and an estimated 378-mile range.
If you’re somehow sold on the dog and pony show, interested parties can reserve a make on their website for a refundable $5,000, laying claim to one of the first 300 productions with the added bonus of bespoke color and features. The full price has yet to be announced, but the first car will be auctioned in March of 2017 with partial proceeds benefitting a to-be-named environmental organization.
All in, the FF 91 appears to be more of a glimpse at the distant horizon of automotive disruption rather than a taste of its present. Perhaps the auto world would take to the presentation more kindly if Faraday weren't so given to peacocking. If you want to talk the talk, you’re going to have to walk the walk.
But I hope they prove us all very wrong. Because I’d love to fly down the road churning out 1,050 ponies in a make with scissor doors and flying buttresses, even if it kinda sorta looks like the offspring of a luxury sedan and a minivan.