Lucid Motors first vehicle should be a zinger.
Lucid Motors is a California startup that's making big claims about its first vehicle and is looking to compete with Tesla in every way it can. Big power, impressive range, autonomy, clever charging technology, and to top it off the Lucid Air will be built here in the US. It has been a long time coming, but Lucid Motors finally debuted the Air in September this year to a backdrop of California wildfires and a raging pandemic. This is everything we know about the electric vehicle setting itself up to leapfrog Tesla's Model S and even the Porsche Taycan Turbo S right out of the gate.
Range is the biggest selling point and headline grabber for any new electric vehicle. Lucid is coming out of the gate with 517 miles on a single charge from its range-topping Air Grand Touring trim which in perfect atmospheric conditions would give owners nine hours of driving time using a light right foot. The base model, dubbed the Pure, is projected to have an equally-impressive 406 miles of range.
It's not just battery capacity that has generated that number, though. Efficiency is a significant part of Lucid's development of the Air. Lucid claims its in-house designed ultra-compact permanent magnet electric motors are 59 percent more powerful and 45% lighter than their nearest competitors.
Lucid claims it has found a way to charge the batteries at a rate of 20 miles of range for every minute of charge. If charging were constant, that would mean 400 miles of charge available in 20 minutes. However, Lucid points out that in reality, it's closer to 300 miles of range in 20 minutes, which is still impressive. The Lucid charging and battery system is also bi-directional, meaning the car's battery can be used to power your house. That could be useful for those of us using solar power without a battery storage system. If you're not using the car the next day and it's charged, that power can, theoretically, be used.
The Lucid Air will arrive with up to 1,080 horsepower available in a dual-motor and all-wheel-drive layout. That's a ridiculous amount of power, and the instant torque gets the Air to 65 mph in just 2.5 seconds, while a super-slippery drag coefficient of 0.21 helps with efficiency and reaching a top speed of 168 mph. Its acceleration puts the sedan in the realm of the supercar. It beats the Porsche Taycan Turbo S and the Tesla Model S, and compares to the McLaren 720S supercar. How it will handle and grip through corners is anyone's guess, though.
While the top-trim 1,080 hp model grabs the headlines, lower trims are still eye-openingly powerful. The base Air Pure model comes with 480 hp, while the mid-range Air Touring model gets 620 hp.
Lucid's attention to efficiency doesn't extend into the cabin of the Air. We mean that literally, as the drivetrain is designed to be as small as possible and allows more space inside the car for its footprint. The company calls it the Lucid Space Concept, and says it helps "reclaim that space for passengers and their comfort." It also allows the automaker to claim the largest frunk in the luxury electric sedan class. As well as acres of space, there's an enormous 34-inch curved Glass Cockpit 5K display that "floats" above the dashboard in front of the driver, as well as a retractable central "Pilot Panel" for when the driver or passenger wants to dig deeper into the car's features and settings.
The dealerships where you'll be able to configure and purchase an Air are called Lucid Studios. They are modeled on a lounge rather than the traditional and more formal dealerships. Lucid wants a more relaxed place for customers to explore their cars and make choices. To aid that, there will be Virtual Reality headsets available for choosing things like colors so customers can take a virtual tour and explore the car and adjust choices before making a final decision.
We treat claims of autonomous driving with a lot of suspicion and often cynicism. Thankfully, Lucid doesn't make reckless claims about driverless cars. Instead, it will reach Level 3 automation, which means the driver is required to be ready to take control while the car is moving. It's all taken care of by 32 different cameras, sensors, radar, and HD Lidar in a system Lucid calls DreamDrive. The software using the systems have Over The Air update capability, so Lucid can supply regular, and performance-enhancing updates wirelessly and invisibly.
There will be four trim levels available, with Lucid's website still saying that the $169,000 ($161,500 after federal tax credit) limited Air Dream Edition will be available in the spring of 2021. The top Air Grand Touring trim will follow that in mid-2021, priced at $139,000 ($131,500 after federal tax credit). Then in late 2021, the Air Touring model will become available for $95,000 ($87,500 after federal tax credit). The base model Pure Air won't be available until 2022 and will be priced from $74,400 ($69,900 after USA federal tax credit).
The Lucid Air can be reserved for a $1,000 refundable deposit now and is available in the US, Canada, and select countries in Europe and the Middle East. Customers can reserve the Dream Edition with a $7,500 refundable deposit. All vehicles will be built at Lucid's Casa Grande facility in Arizona.