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faraday future

First prototype from mystery electric car startup revealed

The company expects to bring its first car to market in around two years time.

CNET / YouTube

THE FIRST CONCEPT model of an advanced electric car has been revealed in the United States.

The prototype FFZero1 comes with a smartphone dock in its steering wheel and is fully battery powered.

The company responsible – Faraday Future – claims that its cars have a modular design, meaning that the same base could be used to create a variety of different vehicles, including pick-up trucks.

Looking not dissimilar to the Batmobile, the car sets out to compete with electric car-maker Tesla, the company founded by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk which Faraday’s research chief Nick Sampson was formerly an employee of.

Why the mystery?

Questions remain over the structure and ownership of the company, with few concrete details emerging.

Its headquarters sits in a low-profile office to the south of Los Angeles and it is known that there is substantial Chinese investment.

At the event, Faraday confirmed a “strategic partnership” with China-based media and tech firm Letv, but did not provide details about its ownership or even indicate who is its chief executive.

Faraday Future pre-CES Reveal The interior of the FFZero1 concept vehicle Bizuayehu Tesfaye / PA Wire Bizuayehu Tesfaye / PA Wire / PA Wire

The company told AFP that its investors include Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, founder of Letv, which is sometimes described as the Netflix of China.

Faraday Future employees include former executives from Apple, BMW, Google, NASA, Tesla and other prominent firms.

What is supposed to be so great about this car?

The company said it is aiming for an entirely new concept for vehicles with an emphasis on technology and personalization, instead of adapting existing automotive systems.

The car company has also said that it is looking at shared-ownership models for its cars.

Gadget Show Faraday Future Gregory Bull / PA Wire Gregory Bull / PA Wire / PA Wire

Since being founded a year and a half ago the company has employed 750 people and aims to produce its first car within two years.

However, it has faced some criticism from within the industry, with Scott Evans, the associate editor at the Motor Trend news site noting that the innovations being offered by Faraday Future were similar to those offered by other manufacturers. 

With reporting from AFP 

Read: A mysterious startup, the Chinese Steve Jobs and a $1 billion electric-car factory

Also: Mystery surrounds death of top North Korean aide in car crash

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