LAS VEGAS -- Faraday Future ended a spotty car reveal last week asking for $5,000 deposits on a vehicle with no announced price or release date.
In the face of serious skepticism about whether the company will be able to deliver on its promises and despite reports of production problems and recent executive departures, the Chinese electric automaker revealed its production electric vehicle, the FF 91, at the CES technology expo here.
"In its quest to be the next Tesla -- but better -- Faraday is trying out a well-established method of bringing cash in the door well ahead of delivery," said Mike Ramsey, an analyst with Gartner Research. Collecting deposits will give Faraday an idea of demand for the car, Ramsey said, noting: "I'd be surprised if there is as strong a demand as there was for the Model S and Model X -- at least in the U.S."
The company said the 1,050-hp FF 91 can go 378 miles before needing a recharge with a 130 kilowatt-hour battery.
Faraday's reveal was showy, but marred with one glitch, when the car failed to park itself on cue.
"As a new baby, she's often very, very timid," said Nick Sampson, senior vice president of r&d and engineering, as the company tried to get it to move.
The company began work on the vehicle in spring 2015 and said it will start production in 2018. Faraday Future insists it is on schedule for production, despite delays in the construction of its North Las Vegas factory. And in December, Faraday Future lost three high-ranking executives: Ding Lei, global CEO; Marco Mattiacci, chief brand officer; and Joerg Sommer, vice president for product marketing.
"Despite all the naysayers and the skeptics, we will persist," Sampson said, adding that the company's "clean sheet" gives it a leg up against traditional automakers.