Faraday Future is an automotive start up in Gardena, California that, until now, has kept its plans cloaked in secrecy. A few weeks ago, a rumor began that it was really a front for Apple. Since then, the company has begun to raise the Cone of Silence that surrounds it by inviting journalists to visit its offices in a nondescript office building that was once home to a Nissan research facility. It says it will have a presence at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show this January.
Nick Sampson is head of Research and Development for Faraday Future. He used to work at Tesla as a chassis engineer for the Model S. He says Faraday Future was born as the result of a conversation. “Three people sitting around in an office, discussing the future of the car and what people’s mobility would be in the future. Eighteen months later, we’ve got over 400 people working from all over the world.” He expects that number to double within the next year.
Richard Kim, the man who headed the design team for the BMW i3 and i8, is now in charge of design for Faraday Future. He declined to discuss specifics, but did point to a mock-up sitting under wraps. “It’s a car to some degree,” Kim told Tamara Warren of The Verge. “It’s a mobility device, and when people interact with cars, there is of course the irrational desire to have it. The car is still going to be beautiful, as traditional car designers want to have.” Warren was sworn to secrecy but says, “the shape was distinct from anything I’ve seen on the road.” Hmmm…..that’s tantalizing, isn’t it?
During the conversation, Sampson did offer some clues about what Faraday Future has in mind. Basically, it plans to disrupt the car business — including Tesla Motors — in two important ways. First, it will sell not just cars, but also the content that gets displayed on a car’s touchscreen after the sale.
“At home on your TV, you might have a subscription to Verizon or Cox or somebody, but you also download movies and you pay for those. You might watch a premium sports event and pay for that. So there is an ongoing revenue stream from having a TV in your home that’s over and above any profit that some company made from getting that TV to you. And if you look at what you pay monthly in services of those sorts … there are a lot of opportunities. [It’s] a revenue stream completely outside of you going to Best Buy and buying that TV. You have to think of a lot bigger basis than just the one-off customer purchase deal. It’s what’s going to follow on after that.”
That concept fits perfectly with the ideas of Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yeuting, the man rumored to be the money behind Faraday Future. Yeuting has made a fortune from Le TV, which is known as “the Chinese Netflix.” He is someone who knows a lot about delivering content to video screens and getting people to pay for it- but Faraday Future’s plans for disruption doesn’t stop there.
Faraday Future Wants to Change Car Ownership Forever
Sampson tells Bob Sorokanich of Road & Track, “The way people want to purchase or have access to mobility has got to change,” Sampson says. “Some of the model could be non-ownership. You just have an app on your phone and you call up your mobility to get home.” He told Tamara Warren, ”I don’t have to buy one ‘compromise’ vehicle, I can just have use of the perfect model when I need it, like a subscription service. The car industry today aren’t moving fast enough in those directions,” Sampson says.
In the bright, wonderful world of Faraday Future, we will wake up in the morning and select the kind of vehicle we want to drive that day. Perhaps a red convertible is called for. Or, perhaps, a 7 passenger SUV. Maybe a pickup truck to transport building materials or an RV to take the kids camping? Whatever your choice, Faraday Future will know all about you and your preferences. It will know the route to where you work. It will notify the nearest Starbucks to have your favorite latte ready and let you upload countless selfies of yourself so your friends can all share in your wonderfulness. It will free you from the chore of actually driving, so you will have time to watch reruns of F Troop or My Mother The Car along the way.
That’s the future of motoring, according to the geeks who are designing the cars of tomorrow. Talk about your brave new world!
Photo Credit: The Verge.