New forms of mobility, including autonomous shuttles, helicopter cars, and more, have been central to innovation at CES 2020. Smart and advanced, yet traditional in form, cars were some of the first innovations in this space promised at earlier conventions. However, many of these cars have yet to be realized; a lot are still concept cars, loaded with many promising features yet no sign of release or fulfillment of the concept. Enter Faraday Future’s FF 91, a luxurious smart car set to launch mid-2020.
Unlike concept cars promising to be released in the near future, Faraday Future’s claim should be believed. Their “booth” at CES wasn’t an exhibition of their car, but rather a functional test drive and demo of their pre-production unit. Being able to drive the car around the Vegas strip and test internal features like voice command was a breath of fresh air. Even beyond just the small-scale testing at CES, it was driven from LA to Las Vegas for the convention, all on one charge.
But back to the demos we went on: one focused on the driving experience while the other showcased some of the internal software features. To start with the former, the driving experience was unlike any other we’ve had. While this is partly because no other concept car has provided test drives, it was also because it was a luxurious experience to the max. The FF 91 only has 4 total seats, meaning each passenger has plenty of leg space; the back seats in particular were extra cozy, with enough room to recline each seat until you were horizontal with the floor (this was called “anti-gravity mode”).
Like many EVs, FF 91 was a silent and smooth ride. But with its 3 motors providing 1,050 horsepower, it pulled like no other car. When the driver tested the 0 to 60 (officially timed at 2.3 seconds), the ramp up was so steady, sudden, and powerful that it felt like a rollercoaster ride. Handling, turning and stopping were all incredibly responsive, but never felt sudden or jittery. Smooth, powerful, and in control would be how I would describe the drive overall.
While the drive itself was a complete pleasure, the main draw of the FF 91 has to be the passenger-based luxury experience. The anti-gravity mode was only the tip of the iceberg. Each seat had side panels that let the passengers decide their own preferences. Additionally, the passenger seats had a drop-down screen. Emphasizing the “internet of vehicles,” this panel could be connected to a phone or tablet to play videos, games, and more.
With a price range of $100,000-$200,000, the FF 91 will not be affordable for everyone even if everyone at the test raved about the ride and features. However, it is hopefully a glimpse at the future of what cars can provide in terms of specs and comfort.