The Lucid Air sedan, which is slated to go into production at a facility in Arizona next year.
Electric Vehicle start Lucid touts its fully electric Air sedan as a more efficient, faster and roomier vehicle than the Tesla Model S, a car that the company’s CEO Peter Rawlinson helped develop.
“What we have is an electric car breakthrough,” he told the media ahead of the Air unveiling on Wednesday. “This is not only due to the batteries, but also to a whole series of considerations that add up.”
Rawlinson, Tesla’s chief engineer and vice president of engineering from 2009 to 2012, claims the high-end version of the Air is 17% more energy efficient than Tesla models and offers more range with fewer cells.
The Air is very similar to the prototype models and a concept of the car that Lucid had before unveiled in 2016. The company has since made small changes to the exterior, including larger side mirrors to meet regulations, as well as curved screens inside.
Exterior of the Lucid Air sedan, unveiled on September 9, 2020 as the company’s first production vehicle.
The car is valued for achieving one EPA rated range of 517 miles on a single charge, according to third party testing. Tesla easily surpasses Tesla’s industry-leading 402 miles with one version of the Model S. According to Rawlinson, it can also do a quarter mile in 9.9 seconds. Tesla’s fastest vehicle reportedly takes 10.4 seconds.
“This has never been done before,” said Rawlinson. “An electric car with a range of 500 miles and the fastest thing in the world.”
The company says the car can charge 300 miles in 20 minutes thanks to a 900-volt architecture. The highest charge rate is 2 miles per minute, according to Lucid.
Starting prices for the Air range from around $ 80,000 for a base model to $ 169,000 for a limited-volume “Dream Edition”.
The company plans to sell a grand touring version of the Air with a range of 517 miles for $ 139,000 and a touring version of the sedan with a range of 406 miles for $ 95,000.
The vehicle’s performance and range vary depending on the price. Top-end models offer up to 1,080 hp. Lucid plans to make the air in black, white, and gold.
The higher-priced vehicles are expected to go on sale in the second quarter of next year, followed by cheaper models in the fourth quarter and through 2022.
Lucid says a big differentiator for each version of the Air is its interior. According to Derek Jenkins, Vice President of Design at Lucid, the Air offers the space of a large sedan in a midsize car. “Here, the wonder of the Lucid packaging and our space is incredible,” he said.
Interior of the Lucid Air limousine.
The vehicle has a “floating” driver information screen behind the steering wheel and an angled control touchscreen in the lower center of the dashboard.
The company says the Lucid Air “Frunk” can hold as much cargo as four of any competitor.
Rawlinson expects the Air to be the catalyst for a number of future all-electric vehicles, including an SUV that will start production in early 2023 and cheaper vehicles across the board. On Wednesday evening, the company shared pictures of its SUV, dubbed the “Gravity,” which is still in development. However, specifications for the SUV were not discussed.
Lucid Motors SUV
Executives also announced that Lucid is developing an “ESS” line of stationary energy storage systems for the home, business and network. The strategy is reminiscent of that of Tesla, minus the takeover of SolarCity and the entry into photovoltaics.
Unlike Tesla, Lucid does not currently build or manage its own charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Instead, the company has partnered with Electrify America. Early customers who purchase the Lucid Air will receive 3 years of free recharge at Electrify America stations.
Air is expected to begin production early next year at its still-under-construction facility in Casa Grande, Arizona, southeast of Phoenix. Production was due to start late this year, but was delayed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The $ 700 million facility, including $ 300 million for the first phase of production, is expected to have an initial production capacity of 34,000 units, which Rawlinson believes will increase to a maximum capacity of 400,000 units by the end of the decade will grow.
Lucid is among several electric vehicle startups and “traditional” automakers try to compete with Tesla.
Lucid was founded in 2007 as Atieva, a name it now uses for its technical and engineering division that supplies batteries for the Formula E electric circuit. The company initially focused on electric battery technology before changing its name to an electric vehicle manufacturer in 2016, three years after Rawlinson joined the company to lead technology development.
The Lucid Air sedan is the company’s first production vehicle.