Cold weather testing is the last step before production begins later this year.
Lucid Motors is ramping up testing of its first product ahead of the release of the production version, the Air luxury EV sedan, in preparation to battle the Tesla Model S and forthcoming Mercedes-Benz EQS halo EV. First, it managed a trip of more than 400 miles on a single charge, and now, Air prototypes have been dancing on ice in Minnesota. It's one of the final steps in the development process, ensuring the EV can perform at its best in the freezing winters many owners are likely to encounter in northern states. Two prototypes were sent up to the north - Beta 4 and Beta 5 - to evaluate not just how the batteries and electric motors withstand cold conditions, but to ensure that handling dynamics in low-friction conditions are up to the standards expected of a modern luxury car.
During the testing, temperatures dropped as low as -27 F, and the combination of snow and ice enabled testing of a number of features, notably the ABS system, traction control, and crucially, stability control. Several environments were used to test, including a circular track, a snowfield, an ice field, and a handling track, with snow and ice regularly interchanging, making for some interesting conditions with traction differing from wheel to wheel and axle to axle.
Conditions like this allow Lucid to engineer a car that handles in a balanced and precise manner, with systems that are accurately able to read conditions and change on the fly to ensure the highest levels of driver confidence.
The visuals are something spectacular, with the Air - packing up to 1,000 hp in its most potent AWD dual-motor form - sliding all over the show with plumes of snow and ice trailing behind it. While performance will surely be affected in such conditions (cold climates mean a range of 400 miles is likely unattainable from the 130 kWh battery pack), with all-wheel-drive from the two-motor models, the Air should prove to be a more than rapid companion in any condition, even if the sub-2.5-second dry sprint from 0-60 mph isn't quite possible.