And the car just posted a new personal best - albeit with a stripped interior.
Tesla and newbie EV manufacturer Lucid Motors are waging all-out war on the race track, battling for dominance around the corners of Laguna Seca in California to see which electric sedan is fastest: the Tesla Model S Plaid, or the Lucid Air Tri-Motor.
Now, we know what you're thinking: "Why does it matter? Both cars are going to be stupid-fast - faster than any reasonable person could ever need on public roads. Can't they just be done with it?" In a sense, you have a point; no one needs an electric sedan that can lap Laguna Seca within seconds of the thoroughbred Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
But in another sense, it matters a whole lot. Even with automakers like Jaguar, Volkswagen, Porsche, Ford, and countless others all taking an earnest stab at the EV market, the segment lacks variety. Lucid is a promising outfit, but in order to sway the hordes of EV shoppers who only think of Tesla, they'll need to make a splash.
The good news is that Lucid Motors hasn't given up since its own Laguna Seca track record of 1:33 was toppled by the new Tesla Model S Plaid's 1:30.3. Far from it, in fact; a tri-motor Lucid Air prototype just set a blistering 1:31.3 lap time, landing within a second of the Tesla.
Granted, there are a couple of caveats. The car Lucid brought to the track featured a stripped interior, shedding unnecessary pounds and improving its acceleration, braking, and cornering performance in the process. It was also fitted with wider wheels than what will be on the factory car, although they were wrapped in regular old street tires.
Still, it's an impressive feat, made all the more so by the fact the car is still in development, and set that 1:31.3 lap time in the course of doing some chassis testing, driven by an engineer, not a racing driver: John Culliton, a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Lucid Motors.
And for what it's worth, Lucid Motors still isn't satisfied just yet, vowing that "testing continues" as the Air marches toward its spring 2021 launch date.