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Start-up electric-car venture Faraday Future previewed a technology-heavy concept car on Monday (4 January 2016). The company hopes to develop the car into a range of connected vehicles that can challenge luxury rivals, including Tesla and Audi, in the growing global market for non-petrol cars.
The California-based company has remained tight-lipped about its plans since its launch 18 months ago. Days ahead of this year's CES in Las Vegas, the startup unveiled its eagerly anticipated electric concept car.
With its teardrop shape and aerodynamic tunnels that allow air to flow through the car and cool the batteries, the FFZERO1 concept racecar shown in Las Vegas is not intended to be produced, Sampson added. Rather, the prototype is one that offers the potential of several platforms.
Faraday is part of a group of Chinese-funded startups hoping to capitalise on disruption in the car industry amid global regulatory demand for electric and hybrid vehicles, a growing trend of connectivity in cars and a sharp rise in interest in mobility alternatives such as Uber and Lyft.
Faraday sees a growing market for electric vehicles in the United States, despite low petrol prices that have curbed consumer demand in the short term. Its ties with China open up that country's fast-growing, second-largest EV market in which others, including Tesla Motors, have struggled. Faraday's senior vice president of R&D and product development, Nick Sampson, told those attending the event that the company is well positioned.
"We have an amazing team: in the past 18 months we've assembled an extraordinary group of people – more than 550 talented individuals and plus 200 more globally. We work literally night and day to create, reimagine and rethink a new concept for mobility. This is a team of like-minded individuals, visionaries and pioneers from the world's greatest technology, automotive and consumer brands. People understand the importance of thinking big as well as acting fast. It is an amazing team from over 40 countries. They come from such pioneering companies as Apple, BMW, Boeing, Ford, Google, Jaguar, NASA, Tesla and many more," Sampson said.
Sampson denied that Faraday's main competitor would be Tesla, whose premium Model S electric vehicle has shaken up the traditional carmaking industry. Like Tesla, Sampson said, Faraday will target buyers of luxury gasoline-powered cars to expand the still-tiny EV market in the United States.