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Meet the secretive Californian company plotting to out-Tesla Tesla
Is mysterious firm Faraday Future involved with Apple’s ‘iCar’ project?
The all-new company is called Faraday Future. The car… well, we don’t know much about the car at all, but the little we do is mighty intriguing.
Even the company itself is shrouded in mystery. We know Faraday Future is a California-based start-up employing some 400 staff, including ex-BMW and Tesla chiefs.
And we know it’s serious about challenging the big players in the world of electric cars. Faraday’s mission statement boldly proclaims that “today’s cars do not meet today’s needs”, with the company promising to “connect the automotive experience to the rest of your life”.
But what exactly does that mean? Last week, The Verge caught up with Nick Sampson, Faraday Future’s Senior VP and a former Tesla boss.
“If I go on a road trip now, at the weekend, I have to plan that indoors on a computer, and then I have to go to a car and re-put that in,” explained Sampson. “It’s not seamless, it’s not a world where the car knows me, knows my needs. If I plan something on one device, why shouldn’t that be available on other devices?”
Sampson described Faraday Future as moving ‘remarkably quickly’, with a company culture ‘even more creative than Tesla’. It plans a seven-strong range of American-built vehicles.
He also suggested Faraday would attempt to disrupt the traditional vehicle ownership model, in favour of something closer to a car-share arrangement. “Yes, there will be cars with a single owner,” he said. “But in the future there will be a vast number of people who don’t want to own a car any more. Instead of owning a car, it might be a subscription…”
“We’re trying to kinda hit the reset button,” said Kim. “We’re designing the car from the inside out, and that’s unique. We do a lot in augmented reality.”
That, reckons Kim, allows Faraday to move ‘super-fast’, with the company promising a production on the road before 2020.
Quite what shape that car will take remains unclear, though teasers suggest an SUV-type body, potentially pointing to a Tesla Model X rival. We’re told the Faraday could use a higher capacity battery than Tesla’s 85kWh pack, meaning a likely range north of 300 miles.
Of course, developing an all-new car from scratch – let alone a range of cars, with a bold new business model – doesn’t come cheap.
Faraday has stayed curiously secretive about its financial backers - and indeed the identity of its CEO - leading some to suggest it could be linked to Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ electric car program.
It’s not an inconceivable notion: in October, Tesla boss Elon Musk responded punchily to suggestions Apple was poaching his staff for its ‘iCar’ project, describing it as ‘the Tesla graveyard’.
Whether Faraday Futures is tied to the world’s most valuable company, or it’s doing its own very ambitious thing, it’ll surely be worth watching. Faraday will its first concept at CES on January 4 2016, promising ‘the future of mobility is closer than you think’. Watch this space…