Is Faraday Future a Threat to Tesla?

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If Back to the Future was a movie coming out this year rather than in the 1980s, what could substitute the hoverboard today? Not literally, of course! After all, hoverboards are inimitable! But still, what is the innovation that has sparked both excitement and suspicion in present days? Something that used to seem so far away and is yet so close? The first big thing that comes to my mind is electric vehicles (followed by self-driving cars, which is totally the modern equivalent of the flying car in Back to the Future)! Next, I find myself speculating about what possibly could play a role of a “hoverboard” today.

And then I think of Faraday Future.

Faraday Future is a rather new disrupter in the traditional automakers’ markets whose goal is to create premium electric vehicles with sleek design and technology of latest fashion. It is my equivalent of the hoverboard not because it’s so spectacular and new, but because it adds up a dose of excitement to what we have already seen out there in terms of gadgets and design. Skateboards were new, but they weren’t levitating at that time yet, right? To some, seeing yet another player on the market might seem a rather late move or the last hope to catch the wave of EVs.

Brave, yet hopeless.

So many automakers are already talking about EVs that this concept does not stand out with anything in particular, apart from the smartphone dock in the steering wheel (which may not even pass safety regulations).

Is it possible for Faraday Future to catch up with Tesla?

To this, I would ask: Are they even competing? Faraday Future claims to be a growing company whose goal is to develop premium highly connected vehicles. And if you have been following Elon Musk and his Master Plan, you would know that Tesla Motors is already on the way to surpassing the phase of competing on the luxury sports car market.

At CES 2016, Nick Sampson, who used to work at Tesla and is now the senior vice president at Faraday, claimed the first model of FFZERO1 would be in production in 2018. By the year 2018, however, Tesla will already have not only Model S behind its back, but it would have also released Model X and the $35,000-priced Model 3, which many environmentalists have been waiting for. Therefore, even if we consider FF as Tesla’s competitor, its portfolio will be too small to compete with Tesla’s scale of production. Tesla will already hold a significant portion of the market share in the EV industry. Hence, it will be hard for FF to gain a portion beyond the limits of the niche it is focusing on.

The way Faraday Future handles such suspicions, however, is by emphasizing on the Variable Platform Architecture which will allow the company to quickly catch up with Tesla’s product portfolio. As the company representatives at CES 2016 claimed, it will allow them to go into SUVs and pick-up trucks much more quickly. They claim the company has a user-centric focus, but if that’s the case.

Would it be truthful to consumers

to see both a high-speed high-tech sports electric vehicle and a pick-up truck coming from the same manufacturer? Would people driving pickups want features such as full automation and self-driving? Or will they stick to the manly image that drives women insane at the sight of a man in an old-fashioned pick-up? A user-centric company should have consumer attitudes and habits in mind not only when it comes to the design and interface of the vehicle, but the vehicle format and functionalities as well.

The image that Faraday Future is building for their brand speaks to drivers who fancy high-tech and enjoy playing with gadgets. If you are to devote to an EV, would show-off design be the reason that leads you to the right brand? Maybe, if you need another status symbol in your life. Tesla, on the other hand, is a brand with a mission. A brand that aims to change the world for the better. After all, there is a reason why the hoverboard is not a thing anymore today, right?


About the Author:

Dilyana Dobrinova is a nature & travel enthusiast. With a heart for books, scarves and vintage. She runs a brand consulting agency, while also running 10Ks between meetings. Dilyana holds an M.A. in International Marketing Management from the Berlin School of Economics and Law in Germany, and two B.As. in Journalism & Mass Communication and in Business Administration from AUBG.

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