One of the direct results of the boom in battery-powered vehicles is the rise of EV startups. Tesla might always hug the limelight, but there are a handful of other startups putting or about to put EVs on the road. One of them is Lucid Motors, which has released its electric Air sedan.
It has taken a lot for Lucid to arrive at this point in its history, headed by a former Tesla employee. What is Lucid offering with its first model? Can you trust your life and money with this new American automaker?
Lucid has established itself in the luxury sedan segment, following Tesla’s playbook of releasing a high-end version first before doing less expensive models.
The least priced Air trim starts at $80,000 and will only be available next year, followed by the Touring at $95,000. The Grand Touring comes after a steeper jump, at $139,000. The most expensive trim, the Air Dream Edition, will remain the dream of many at $169,000.
The Air Dream Edition is the only trim available right now, and all the first-batch 520 units Lucid will make have been reserved.
The Lucid Air has officially toppled Tesla from the status of the most extended range on an EV. EPA certified the top trim, the Air Dream Edition, will last 520 miles on a single charge, 100 miles more than the closest competing brand!
Lucid managed to achieve this without using a considerably larger battery pack as it has a 113 kWh lithium-ion battery. The range is due to a combination of high efficiency and low aerodynamic drag.
Charging the battery does not take long, despite the longer range. With its 900-volt electric architecture, the Air can add 300 miles in just 20 minutes with the appropriate fast charger. You will even get three years of free unlimited charging with Electrify America network.
An added advantage is the bi-directional charging that allows you to use the battery to power your home, for example.
Electric motor & performance
There are no surprises here. The Air is plenty powerful with options for single, dual, or tri-motor configurations. The Dream Edition Performance produces an impressive 1,111 hp that boosts acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in about 2.5 seconds, bringing it close to performance car territory. It will cross the quarter-mile in under 10 seconds. These figures might not mean much to an average user, but they are bragging materials.
Safety and driver-assist systems
Lucid is packing in many assist tech, powered by DreamDrive, its platform for advanced tech. It uses LIDAR, among a total of 32 sensors, to monitor the surroundings. You will get limited autonomous driving which Lucid promises to update over the air.
There are automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and display, cross-traffic alert, etc. The car will even monitor you for distraction or drowsiness at the wheel.
For a car that costs that much, the Lucid Air does not disappoint in looks. It is as solid and classy as a Mercedes-Benz. Lucid used a two-tone scheme for the color, and it has a pleasing effect.
There is a front and rear styling that consists of wide horizontal lightning, and this will probably become a hallmark of the brand.
Interestingly, the Air looks like a hatchback but has a distinct trunk lid.
Apart from looking great, the Air is the most aerodynamic luxury car, which helps with the range. It also contributes to less noise when driving on the road.
Inside, the luxury theme continues. Using quality materials, Lucid has made the front sporty with darker hues, while the back seat is more relaxing with warmer colors.
Like most modern EVs, Lucid has put two digital displays inside the Air. The first one is a curved 34-inch screen that serves as the instrument cluster, and the second is the center console display which surprisingly retracts to reveal more storage space.
The infotainment system accepts voice inputs through Alexa integration to control navigation and car settings.
The cabin is airy, and rides will be comfortable for passengers regardless of height, thanks to Lucid’s effort to miniaturize components. Lucid also boasts the Largent frunk or front trunk in the industry. At the back, the tiny-looking lid opens to reveal cavernous storage space.
Competition to the Lucid Air comes from both new and established automakers. Foremost among them are the Tesla Model S, Mercedes-Benz EQS, Porsche Taycan, etc.