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March 24, 2017

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Faraday Future unveils speedy electric car at CES, plans to resume construction in NLV

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Christopher DeVargas

The silver-bodied FF 91 speedy electric car has a sleek black hood, fluorescent head and tail lights, and a 130-killowatts-per-hour battery which allows for travel up to 378 miles on a full charge. It was revealed during CES in Las Vegas on Jan. 3, 2017.

Faraday Future Unveiling Event

Faraday Future unveils  their first production vehicle, the FF91, during CES week in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. Launch slideshow »

Racing next to Bentley, Ferrari and Tesla models, automaker Faraday Future unveiled its first production car — the four-door, 1050-horsepower, FF 91 — on a makeshift indoor roadway Tuesday at CES in Las Vegas.

The silver-bodied vehicle has a sleek black hood, fluorescent head and tail lights, and a 130-kilowatts-per-hour battery which allows for travel up to 378 miles on a full charge. Traveling from 0 to 60 mph in 2.39 seconds, the FF 91 accelerated faster than the three other luxury brands, whose 0 to 60 speeds of between 2.5 and 2.9 seconds were also demonstrated.

“We are going to get rid of range anxiety,” said Nick Sampson, Faraday's senior vice president of research, development and engineering, who emceed the event. “We are witnessing Day One in a new era of mobility.”

The unveiling also featured a demonstration of the car's self-parking feature. After a demonstrator was shown exiting the vehicle on a live video feed from the lot, the FF 91 navigated through two rows of parked cars before finding and backing into the open parking spot.

The spot was selected by North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, who attended the event. Faraday broke ground on its $1.3 billion car factory in North Las Vegas’ Apex Industrial Park in April, and while it stopped construction to focus on building the FF 91, Sampson said Tuesday that he expects to construction to resume soon.

Faraday officials on hand included co-founder and billionaire financier Jia Yueting, vice president of design Richard Kim and vice president of propulsion Peter Savagian They did not specify a price for the new vehicle, nor a timeline for when it will hit the production line. Sampson said only 300 of the vehicles will be for auction at a March charity event in Los Angeles.

A presentation slide saying “deliveries begin” for the car in 2018 lasted less than two seconds on the venue’s backdrop screen, and neither Sampson nor Yueting elaborated on a distribution date.

The unveiling comes at a tumultuous time for Faraday Future, who has been saddled with controversies and financial struggles in the past year.

Work on the Faraday site was suspended in November because it needed to direct more money and attention to developing and presenting the FF 91 revealed Tuesday, company spokesman Ezekiel Wheeler said in November.

“Our refocusing is to ensure we bring a cutting-edge vehicle to a very dated system and show what we’re capable of,” Wheeler told the Associated Press. “We want to fully fulfill our promise to the state of Nevada” for the 3 million-square-foot facility.”

Faraday spokesman Richard Otto said with the revealing of the FF 91 complete, Faraday will resume construction “in early 2017.”

“That was really it, we just wanted to focus on this first,” Otto said.

The 3.4 million-square-foot factory, set on 900 acres, was expected to create 4,500 full-time jobs in Clark County. Faraday was promised $335 million in combined tax and other incentives from Nevada.

In December, an investigation from BuzzFeed News revealed Faraday Future owed more than $400 million in unpaid debts to vendors and suppliers. That report came one month after Yueting publicly acknowledged financial struggles for LeEco, an umbrella media and electronics holding company partnered with Faraday. In the letter, Yueting said the company “blindly sped ahead,” and promised to move forward at a more moderate pace.

“No company has had such an experience, a simultaneous time in ice and fire,” Yueting said in describing LeEco’s financial issues. “We blindly sped ahead, and our cash demand ballooned. We got over-extended in our global strategy. At the same time, our capital and resources were in fact limited.”

None of the five presenters at Tuesday’s unveiling of the FF 91 directly addressed the company’s financial debt during the presentation. But rather they promised “much more to share” in the coming months.

When asked about Faraday’s financing woes, Otto said the company had a “prolonged financing plan to begin production soon,” and Sampson appeared to allude to the topic in his closing quote during the presentation.

“Despite all of the naysayers and the skeptics, we will persist,” Sampson said. “We will carry on to make the impossible possible.”

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