Faraday Future has finally gone public with its first concept car, the FFZero1, which was unveiled in Las Vegas as this week's Consumer Electronics Show began. The automotive start-up is backed by China's LeTV, and its production models will be built on a new electric-only architecture at a new factory outside Las Vegas from 2018.
Faraday Future's head of design is Richard Kim, a founding member of BMW i Design and lead designer of the i3 and i8 concepts.
Kim describes the FFZero1 concept as “a car of concepts.” It is a one-seat race car that may see limited production, but has been shown primarily to demonstrate some of the visual treatments and technology that the firm hopes will set its production models apart.
Faraday claims that its cars are designed from the inside out. The concept's single seat uses NASA-derived technology to enhance comfort, and is tilted at a 45-degree angle to balance the weight of the driver. The headrest has outputs for water and oxygen that plug into a bespoke helmet designed for the car.
The steering wheel allows a smartphone to be directly plugged into its centre to assist in navigating the car as well as displaying information, and, assuming a street-legal version, infotainment. It is anticipated that familiar touchscreen interfaces – swipes, pinches and touches – will provide most of the interface with the instrumentation and controls.
The exterior design is reminiscent of a Le Mans prototype, with a fighter-jet style canopy over the driver and a prominent centre stabiliser fin running towards the car's rear. The bodywork is made from carbon composite, and features multiple aerodynamic layers to reduce drag and direct cooling air to the battery pack under the floor. Along the side a strong character line bisects the upper and lower body. Kim calls the feature a UFO line, and states that it will be a prominent feature on Faraday’s future designs.
Perhaps the most successful part of the concept's launch was the explanation of Faraday’s Variable Platform Architecture or VPA. It includes banks of batteries in the centre of the car's floor, with wheel sets and motors on either side, and crumple zones of various lengths and widths at each end. This modularity would allow for cars of different lengths, different battery pack options; two, three, or four motor configurations; and two or four-wheel drive.