The final race of the Formula E season is set to take place in London this weekend. On Friday morning electric car startup Faraday Future and American auto racing team Dragon Racing announced a new technical partnership. The arrangement will help Dragon Racing compete in the next four seasons of Formula E racing. The third year of the Formula E series begins October 9, 2016.
At the press conference, Dragon Racing owner and team principal Jay Penske said his team was looking forward to taking advantage of Faraday Future’s intellectual property. Penske noted that Faraday Future has more than 1,000 people working to bring its electric cars to market. To date, it has amassed more than than 320 patents.
Faraday Future has drawn plenty of skepticism in both the automotive and investment communities. So far, it has been long on promises and short on specifics. It showed off a ridiculous concept vehicle at the CES show in January. It says it has test mules of its production cars operating on public roads in America and that it will have a prototype of a production car available before the end of this year. But whether a company that has just begun building a factory can have cars on sale by 2018, as promised, seems a stretch to most people.
Some criticized the announcement as another example of Faraday Future making glorious promises that are not backed up with specific information about its plans to build real cars. “We plan to release our first production vehicle as soon as possible—however, quality and safety remain our absolute highest priority,” a Faraday Future spokesperson said. “Our flagship vehicle will not be cheaper than $30,000 USD. However, our subsequent vehicles will be more widely available and offer a variety of ownership models.”
During the press conference, Penske noted that Dragon finished second in the championship for Formula E’s first season. “Our big focus now is on software, and we believe our team at Faraday will be a huge help,” the team director said. A company representative added, “Faraday Future’s R&D team will look for opportunities within the Dragon Racing platform to improve overall drivetrain performance. Additionally, they will refine data acquisition and analytics to improve vehicle simulation models, which will aid in more accurate predictions of vehicle performance and efficiency.”
At the beginning of next season, “Faraday Future motors, gearbox, and the FF Echelon Inverter—the same inverter that will be installed into every future Faraday Future production vehicle,” according to the company’s press release.
Faraday Future has a number of high profile executives with vast experience in the automotive world, including Marco Mattiacci who was instrumental in taking Ferrari from a specialty car maker to a mainstream auto company. Based on what we know so far, the company expects its superior software technology to help it compete with Tesla and other electric car manufacturers. That superiority is what Dragon Racing expects to give it an edge in Formula E racing.