Faraday’s technical director, Nick Sampson, is a Briton and former Lotus engineer who worked on the Elise Mk2, still-born M250 and Tesla Model S. He is obviously convinced the firm will succeed and answered our questions by email from California after the FF 91 was launched in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
“To date, Faraday has spent hundreds of millions of dollars of its own money developing its first production vehicle and planning for future manufacturing facilities,” he says. “We have previously stated that the start of production for FF 91 will occur within 2018 and we stand by this timeline.”
Sampson and his team are working behind the scenes on an all-new alloy ‘skateboard’ chassis built to house multiple modules of lithium ion, floor-mounted batteries and dubbed VPA (Vehicle Platform Architecture).
“The design and engineering of FF’s VPA, chassis and body structure has all been done in-house by our wide talent pool that spans automotive, technology and aerospace industries,” he says.
The engineering may sound familiar because Tesla has a similar platform design, and the cutaway prototype of Faraday’s chassis looks comparable with Tesla’s.
“Our VPA is designed in-house and is a flexible powertrain system featuring a monocoque vehicle structure in which the chassis and body are single form, providing a measurable increase in overall vehicle rigidity, safety and handling,” says Sampson.
The skateboard platform is fashioned from aluminium, as is the bulk of the outer skin. Other panels are steel and plastic composites, and welding, bonding and fasteners are used in the construction.
The chassis, running gear and body will be assembled in-house by Faraday, but the outer skin panels are likely to be pressed by a supplier. “We are not revealing our supplier at this time,” Sampson says.
The FF 91 has double-wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear, both suspended on air springs and mounted on subframes, which should aid rolling refinement.
There are three 350bhp electric motors: one centrally mounted at the front and two driving the rear wheels. “The FF’s motors are designed, engineered, and built in-house. And our VPA allows for multiple motor configurations,” says Sampson.
The front steering is electrically assisted, as is the active rear steering, which, Sampson says, “improves high-speed agility and handling, cornering and low-speed turning radius”.