Faraday Future, the secretive electric car company, released a teaser video that doesn’t show a car—that happens next month—or any details on the product. But tucked in this vague 1-minute 30-second video montage of people and urban infrastructure is a question that hints at one possible direction.
Midway through the video, the narrator asks “What if you didn’t so much own a car as use one whenever you needed?”
That line suggests that Faraday Future is tinkering with a transportation as a service or car-sharing business model, which could eventually put it in competition with companies like Google, Uber, or car-sharing services Zipcar and car2go. Google (GOOGL) is developing a self-driving car. And while the company hasn’t said exactly how it plans to deploy them, it’s hard to imagine anything but a transportation as a service model that would allow people to order a driverless car via an app. Uber, which already has the ride-hailing app piece dialed in, is investing in mapping—a critical component to self-driving cars. Car2go is owned by Daimler, which is also working on autonomous vehicle technology.
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Little is known about Faraday Future or its plans, even though the company employs close to 500 people, according to the latest figures provided by the company. Many in the automotive industry were unaware that Faraday Future, founded last year, even existed until July, when Motor Trend first reported about the Gardena, Calif.-based company.
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A few more details about the company—notably that Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting is one of the founders—were revealed earlier this month when it announced plans to build a $1 billion electric vehicle factory at an industrial park in North Las Vegas.
The 3 million-square-foot factory will be located on a 900-acre site in North Las Vegas—about a 6.5-hour drive from a massive battery factory being built near Reno, Nev., by Tesla (TSLA). State legislators approved incentives and tax breaks worth $215 million for the Faraday Future factory.
In the past, Faraday Future has said it would introduce its first car in 2017. We’ll finally get an idea of what that car might look like next month when the company reveals its first concept car at the CES electronics show in Las Vegas.