Faraday Future, the Chinese electric car poised to challenge Tesla, unveiled its first product at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. But, according to the Daily Mail, it was a bust. Called the FF91, the self-driving car is described by the company as a “new species” of vehicle. The vehicle left company representatives red-faced after it didn’t budge when asked to self-park. Before the indoor demo, the crowd at CES watched a camouflaged prototype parking itself outside the venue.
However, when the car had to perform the same maneuver on stage, it went south. When Faraday Future’s main backer, billionaire Jia Yeuting, was asked to press the button commanding the car to park itself – well, it didn’t. The problem was resolved after a few moments when the technician peered inside the vehicle. But the crowd was not impressed.
Built to Impress Consumers
According to the company’s marketing materials, Faraday Future’s car can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.39 seconds, faster than Tesla cars. They say it’s an “intelligent entity” equipped with a number of sensors including cameras, radar, 3D Lidar and facial recognition that “look out for you.” The car has two aerodynamic antennae that function as a WiFi connection system and a number of modems. There is also an “immersive” HD screen to stream content. It can achieve 378 miles of adjusted EPA range. What that means is you could go from Los Angeles to Silicon Valley with miles to spare on a single charge. Insiders expect the cost of this car to be around $180,000 and to go to production sometime next year.
What About Safety?
While this car no doubt has a number of impressive features that were clearly intended to “wow” consumers at this big show in Las Vegas, the malfunction leads us to question the overall safety of this vehicle. Little mention has been made of the FF91’s safety features. Tesla vehicle crashes around the world have exposed some of the vulnerabilities in autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. A fatal Florida crash in May, in particular, showed us that regardless of the number of sensors these cars might have, it might still not be enough to actually “sense” what the real world throws at us.
While many of these cars are still at the conceptual stage, our auto defect attorneys strongly believe that they should not be marketed or sold until glitches have been ironed out. Manufacturers should go through an extensive testing process, which can convincingly demonstrate that these vehicles are safe to be put on our roads.