Chi­nese- backed Fara­day Fu­ture car maker spon­sors ePrix

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING - AL­WYN VILJOEN • al­wyn. viljoen@ wit­ness. co. za

THE Chi­nese- backed elec­tric­car start- up Fara­day Fu­ture has joined For­mula E as head­line spon­sor for the 2016 Long Beach ePrix race.

Fara­day Fu­ture is one of sev­eral star­tups in China and the United States fo­cused on build­ing elec­tric cars to ri­val Tesla’s.

Fara­day has said it aims to make money not just on the ve­hi­cles but on sub­scrip­tions for ap­pli­ca­tions and in­fo­tain­ment piped into the car. The com­pany plans to in­tro­duce its first car in 2017, af­ter un­veil­ing a con­cept next month at the CES elec­tron­ics show in Las Ve­gas.

The Long Beach race, now known as the 2016 Fara­day Fu­ture Long Beach ePrix, will take place on Satur­day, April 2, 2016..

Fara­day Fu­ture pub­lished a ques­tion and an­swer with Nick Samp­son, com­pany’s SVP of Re­search and Devel­op­ment and En­gi­neer­ing, about his thoughts on the 2016 Fara­day Fu­ture Long Beach ePrix.

What draws fans to the For­mula E?

Well, I sup­pose it’s no se­cret that I am par­tic­u­larly drawn to com­pet­i­tive rac­ing.

I’ve spent count­less hours re- fin­ing high- per­for­mance sports ve­hi­cles and rac­ing cars at Jaguar, Lo­tus, and — quite hon­estly — even in my spare time while work­ing at many other po­si­tions, there­after. I’m ex­cited to ex­pe­ri­ence this new fron­tier of au­to­mo­tive com­pe­ti­tion. Some have this mis­con­cep­tion that elec­tric ve­hi­cles are some­how “bor­ing” — I think For­mula E does a great deal to dis­pel that the­ory.

These ve­hi­cles not only ri­val their tra­di­tional coun­ter­parts; they will soon sur­pass them.

Elec­tric ve­hi­cles like FFZERO1 op­er­ate more dy­nam­i­cally — for ex­am­ple, we have a mo­tor for each wheel, each con­trolled in­di­vid­u­ally, op­ti­mis­ing power out­puts for more de­lib­er­ate han­dling and greater per­for­mance.

This al­lows driv­ers to cus­tom­ize the way their plat­form op­er­ates to truly un­leash its po­ten­tial un­der their in­di­vid­ual driv­ing tech­niques. These ve­hi­cles are far from bor­ing — they har­ness far more pos­si­bil­i­ties than any­thing we’ve seen be­fore.

How does our in­volve­ment with For­mula E align with FF’s greater vision?

For­mula E is about far more than a few in­di­vid­ual, com­pet­ing race cars. The tour­na­ment se­ries show­cases the rapid ad­vance­ment of elec­tric ve­hi­cles, in general. It’s an ex­hi­bi­tion for the breadth of po­ten­tial that these tech­nolo­gies can of­fer — of­ten­times lead­ing to revo­lu­tion­ary re­sults. For in­stance, For­mula E is ex­plor­ing the po­ten­tial of con­nec­tiv­ity with a new in- race vot- ing fea­ture called “Fan­Boost”.

“With it, you can di­rectly sup­port your fa­vorite driver by vot­ing for them on­line — dur­ing the race, the top three driv­ers with the most votes re­ceive a 30 kWh driver- ac­ti­vated mo­men­tary speed boost!

“It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing, com­mu­nity- driven ex­pe­ri­ence that bridges the con­nec­tion be­tween driv­ers and their fans.

“This novel look at “con­nec­tion” re­sem­bles the com­mu­nica­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties that we are in­te­grat­ing into FF ve­hi­cles. For­mula E also serves as a cel­e­bra­tion of green, sus­tain­able in­no­va­tion, linked with as­sertive per­for­mance.

“This in­ter­ac­tiv­ity be­tween rapid tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment, en­ter­tain­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity is ab­so­lutely cen­tral to FF.”

Does FF have any plans to com­pete in fu­ture sea­sons of For­mula E?

“FF will al­ways be look­ing into the pos­si­bil­ity of putting cut­tingedge en­gi­neer­ing and high tech­nol­ogy pur­suits to the test — per­haps even through en­ter­ing au­to­mo­tive com­pe­ti­tions. We have no firm plans and are not mak­ing any announcements at this time.”

PHOTO: DAVID DAVIES, PA ARCHIVE

All- elec­tric For­mula E race cars are as fast as the hy­brids rac­ing in For­mula 1, but sound like an­gry cats at full speed.

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