Just Ahead Of Long Beach FIA Formula E Race, Faraday Futures Becomes Surprise Official Sponsor — But Still Has No Car

In the motor racing world, it’s fairly common to see sponsors announced months ahead of the race series or specific even they’re sponsoring. The bigger the sponsor or the bigger the event, the longer the time between the sponsorship announcement and the event itself.

For the biggest race events in multi-billion dollar race series like NASCAR or Formula 1, it’s not uncommon to see sponsors chosen several years in advance.

In the world of all-electric single-seat race cars, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The FFZERO1 will be on display in Long Beach this weekend.

The FFZERO1 will be on display in Long Beach this weekend.

That’s because this morning, less than a week ahead of the sixth-round Formula E e-Prix in Long Beach, California, Formula E holdings — the company responsible for overseeing the FIA championship — announced enigmatic California startup Faraday Future (FF) as title sponsor of that very same race.

Announced via a simultaneous press release on both the official FIA Formula E website and FF’s own site, the partnership will see FF and its FFZERO1 electric concept car take pride of place in the Formula eVillage Fan Zone during the Saturday’s race activities.

We'd rather FF had a production prototype to share.

We’d rather FF had a production prototype to share.

Yet while FF is promising its staff will be on hand during the festivities to answer visitor’s questions and hand out what it calls “memorabilia giveaways,” there’s not a single piece of extra information being shared about what else we can expect from the Chinese-backed startup. And while we’re sure FF will gain some important press from its involvement with Formula E, those turning up will see exactly the same impossible, never-to-enter-production concept car we saw unveiled with a great degree of pomp and circumstance at CES 2016.

Look at the two press releases side by side announcing FF’s involvement in the 2016 Long Beach e-Prix, and it’s clear that FF, despite having no car to show to the general public, is still eager to make itself stand out from the crowd.  While the official FIA press release shares some choice quotes from both Nick Sampson, Senior Vice President of R&D and Engineering at FF, and Sam Piccione, Chief Revenue Officer of Formula E, FF’s official press release is focused far more on the FFZERO1 and FF’s hopes for the future.

Featuring a self-conducted interview with Sampson, the FF press release highlights how it believes Formula E is working hard to dispel the myth that electric vehicles are boring and slow — and includes a handful of select phrases promoting how it believes its own cars will shape the future.

In all of this however, there’s no additional information disclosed about FF. There’s no hint at what we can expect from the company in the future, and even a noncommittal statement regarding the possibility (or perhaps not) that FF could (or maybe not) compete in Formula E as a manufacturer in the future.

Formula E is a big deal -- and FF should have a car to show that isn't just an outlandish concept.

Formula E is a big deal — and FF should have a car to show that isn’t just an outlandish concept.

Ten years ago, the kind of message FF is eager to spread would have been welcomed with open arms. Its delivery would have been similarly welcome at a time when any kind of electric vehicle company was better than nothing. But in a world where most major automakers are now producing their own electric cars, affordable 100-mile electric cars are becoming commonplace and cars like the Tesla Model S are redefining the electric, performance, and luxury markets in one fell swoop, FF’s apparent lack of product threatens to embarrass rather than inspire the electric car world.

Here at Transport Evolved, we’ve seen far too many companies come and go with grandiose plans for the future. We’ve seen companies promise the moon on a stick, and we’ve seen them deliver far less.

Simply put, we’re glad to see FF step out and show its support for the premiere race series that is the 2015/16 FIA Formula E championship. But we’d rather see it invest its time, money and effort into showing the world the car that it is so adamant will change the world.

Without a car to touch, see, smell and drive — even if it is just a prototype — FF risks making a mockery of itself and the electric car marketplace it is so keen to enter.

Do you agree? Are we being too critical of the company that has yet to show the world the revolutionary car it’s so keen to build? Is this the latest in a series of publicity stunts from FF, or do you think there’s some good to be had from its appearance in Long Beach?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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