Faraday Future, the ambitious California automotive startup that has positioned itself as a Tesla killer, finally unveiled its first production car Tuesday night in Las Vegas at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. The FF 91, as the electric vehicle is called, wowed attendees and managed to calm concerns surrounding the embattled, Chinese-backed company--for now, at least.
At its reveal, the four-door sedan raced through a lengthy pavilion against other speedy vehicles, such as the Tesla Model S and the Ferrari 488 GTB, showing off its eye-catching specs. The FF 91, for example, can hit 60 miles per hour in just 2.39 seconds, beating out its competitors. Faraday Future's vehicle comes with 1,050 horsepower and a range of 378 miles, beating out the Model S's range of 315 miles and 762hp.
"It requires bravery to create a whole new car company from the ground up," said Richard Kim, Faraday Future's vice president of design.
For Faraday Future, the unveiling came just in time. Over the past few months, the company has been hit with a barrage of bad press, including reports of several high-profile departures and growing financial troubles. These reports have given fuel to skeptics of the car company, which the company addressed head-on Tuesday night.
"I can say now, without a shadow of a doubt, despite the naysayers, the skeptics, we will persist," said Nick Sampson, Faraday Future's senior vice president of R&D and engineering, at the conclusion of the show.
Faraday Future has talked a big game since debuting a concept vehicle at last year's CES but had yet to unveil an actual production car. That led some to call Faraday Future nothing but "vaporware," a disparaging term among techies for a product that has been advertised but does not actually exist.
"There have been a lot of positive and negative comments, and we just want to step over all those negative comments," Sampson told Inc. "This journey was never going to be easy."
Among the FF 91's most impressive features is its "driverless valet" self-parking capability. While other electric vehicles are capable of helping users park, especially on tricky maneuvers such as parallel parking, the FF 91 takes autoparking a step further. In the parking lot outside of the event, the car drove around on its own before performing a three-point turn and parking itself, rear-end first, between two other vehicles.
The maneuver impressed attendees, but there were some issues. Later in the show and in front of members of the press, Faraday Future executives tried to activate the vehicle's self-parking feature yet again, but this time, it failed to work.
"As a new baby, she's often very, very timid," Sampson said.
Faraday Future is now taking reservations for the FF 91. Eager consumers can put down $5,000 to be among the first 300 to own the vehicle, which will begin to be delivered in 2018.