| LAS VEGAS
LAS VEGAS Jan 3 Electric vehicle start-up
Faraday Future showed off its first production vehicle prototype
in Las Vegas on Tuesday as the China-backed company strives to
win credibility in the crowded sector and weather its funding
The "FF 91," described by its designer Richard Kim as
"weird-pretty" is an electric car Faraday executives say will be
the most technologically advanced on the market when it goes
into production in early 2018. Advance reservations for the car
- which insiders say will retail for about $180,000 - are being
taken for $5,000.
"You're about to witness day one of a new era of mobility,"
said Nick Sampson, senior vice president of engineering and
research and development. "We're going to show the first of a
But cash shortages and a recent spate of executive
departures have raised questions about the company's prospects.
Faraday is funded and controlled by Chinese billionaire Jia
Yueting, the chief executive officer of China's Leshi Holdings
Co Ltd, also known as LeEco, which is showing its
own prototype electric car, the LeSee Pro, at CES. He is also an
investor in California-based Lucid Motors, a competing electric
vehicle start-up attending CES this year.
Faraday debuted at CES last year with a concept car not
intended to be produced, raising eyebrows over the company's
legitimacy and Jia's overall strategy. A cash crunch at LeEco
and Faraday's missed payments to a contractor working on its $1
billion Nevada factory have spurred more questions in recent
months over Faraday's financial situation.
In late December, LeEco said it was in talks to secure 10
billion yuan ($1.4 billion) from an unidentified strategic
Faraday executives would not comment on the company's
"We're hoping to convince people that we're real, we are
doing a real product, it's not just a vaporware Batmobile to
create attention, but we now have a serious product," Sampson
told reporters during a tour of Faraday's headquarters in
Gardena, California in December.
Executives say the car's modular architecture and flexible
battery layout will allow for a faster rollout of future models.
The car will have a range of about 378 miles (608 km) per
charge. Its electric motors generate a combined 1,050
The futuristic-looking vehicle has no handles, as doors will
open as a driver approaches. Holograms will be projected on the
windshield to alert drivers of needed information.
The car will come equipped with a package of sensors,
including cameras, radar and lidar, to enable self-driving
capability at a future date.
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage and Paul Lienert in Las Vegas;
Editing by Lisa Shumaker)