This is an amazing three-car comparison.
It seems like every week, one of the major automakers makes a bold claim about future electric vehicles. But this week, a smaller American automaker called Lucid Motors did more than promise a new EV that is "coming soon." It released a stunner. The Lucid Air just debuted, and immediate comparisons can be drawn to both the 2020 Tesla Model S and the 2020 Porsche Taycan.
Like the Tesla and Porsche, the Lucid is an electric sedan, it comes priced around the same territory, and it offers similar levels of performance. This car has been a long time coming, but now that it's here, we have reason to believe that Tesla and Porsche should be worried.
As the Model S comes more common on the streets than a Camry, trendy EV buyers will turn to the next "hot" item that will help them stand out. Lucid didn't pull any punches with the Air's design, crafting it to look like a road-going concept vehicle. The revolutionary headlights include thousands of "light channels," which Lucid claims are brighter than any other car. From the side profile, the floating roof design stands out with metallic silver pillars. The only strange design element to our eyes is the rear hatch, which reminds us of the tailgate on a Lincoln MKC.
By far, the Lucid Air stands out over the plain-ish Tesla Model S. But what about the Taycan? The Porsche is also incredibly futuristic, and looks sleeker than the massive Lucid. In-person, the Taycan makes a bold impression out on the road, so time will tell if the Lucid Air can match up favorably.
Both Tesla and Porsche offer some of the most forward-thinking interiors on the market today, but Lucid has easily out-thought both of them with the Air's cabin. Do you like screens? Well, the Lucid has a massive 34-inch curved 5K display in front of the driver, plus a retractable panel below it that reveals additional storage space. The cabin looks airier than the Taycan and more premium than the Model S, especially with the large glass windshield like the one found in the Tesla Model X.
In terms of storage space, the Lucid configurator has show us a massive trunk opening, and combined with what Lucid calls "the largest frunk of any electric car to date," we expect the Air to haul more cargo than the Taycan and compete closely with the model S.
As evidenced by thousands of drag races on the internet, the Tesla Model S Performance and Porsche Taycan Turbo S offer supercar levels of performance. But the Lucid Air might trounce both of them. We don't know the base output, but the higher end versions range from a healthy 620 horsepower up to 1,080 horsepower in the dual-motor all-wheel-drive version. In its quickest configuration, the Air hits 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds and completes the quarter-mile in only 9.9 seconds. The Tesla and Porsche hit 60 mph in 2.3 and 2.6 seconds, but neither can complete the quarter-mile run in under 10 seconds.
Lucid has Tesla and Porsche pipped on the electric driving range too. The EPA rates the Air with a max capacity of 517 miles, trouncing the Porsche's 201-mile distance and conquering the Tesla, which can go 402 miles on a charge. Charging the Air is also remarkably quick; Lucid says it can recover up to 20 miles per minute using a DC Fast Charger, adding 300 miles range in just 20 minutes.
Lucid hasn't confirmed the base price of the Air but says it will cost under $80,000 (plus a $7,500 federal tax credit). The well-equipped Air Touring with 620 hp costs $95,000 (before incentives) and the top Air Grand Touring Costs $139,000. If you want the fastest, limited-run Air Dream Edition, it will run you $169,000.
Ranging between $74,990 for the Long Range Plus and $94,990 for the Performance, the Model S slightly undercuts the Lucid Air, though its interior doesn't feel as premium. The Porsche Taycan ranges from $94,990 for the 4S up to $185,000 for the Turbo S, making it the most expensive of the trio. Lucid has clearly done its homework because, on paper, the new Air could dethrone Tesla and Porsche in one fell swoop.