The Lucid Air sedan ready to compete with the EV heavy-weights

Written by Theo Koenig - September 10, 2020

Edited by Asaf Kedem

The announcement has come a week after Lucid Motors grabbed headlines last week for setting the record for the world’s quickest sedan. At the Sonoma Raceway in California, the Silicon-valley based company shattered the record previously held by the Tesla S for the quickest quarter mile, run in 9.9 seconds.

The Lucid Air is set to start “below $80,000”, with an unspecified range and engine output.

The Lucid Air Touring model will start at $95,000 with a range of 406 miles and 620 horsepower. Finally, the Air Grand Touring will start at $139,000 with a range of 517 miles and 800 horsepower. By comparison, the Tesla model S, reaches 402 miles and starts at $75,000.

The Lucid Air is a 4-door, 5-seater, fully electric sedan. The reason for its success, according to Lucid Motors, is their proprietary electric drivetrain. It’s an all-wheel drive vehicle, with two motors, one for the front wheels and the other for the back wheels. It is capable of more than 1000 horsepower and a top speed of over 200mph. The Lucid Air racing in Sonoma hit 1080 hps.

The hidden gem of the Lucid Air, however, remains the battery. Before rebranding and focusing on electric vehicles, Lucid motors, known then as Atiera, specialized in electric battery technology. Atiera is today known as Lucid’s technology division and are currently most well known as the battery pack suppliers for race teams in Formula E. Atiera made headlines at the start of the 2018-2019 season because their improved battery range meant drivers no longer had to stop to swap batteries during a race. This level of expertise and innovation has been directly translated into the battery of the Lucid Air, according to CEO Peter Rawlinson. It has a charge rate of up to 300 miles in 20 minutes and up to 20 miles in 1 minute.

The Lucid Air’s interior oozes class. The car has 29 built-in speakers and future models are expected to have jet-inspired seats capable of reclining to 55 degrees. The wide dashboard is complemented by a simple console with a folding-out 34-inch tablet which uses facial recognition to identify the driver. The Air’s autopilot system, Lucid DreamDrive, features LIDAR (method for measuring distance with lasers) and relies on 32 sensors that include ultrasonic, radar and cameras. While others such as Tesla have shied away from this technology, the Air’s improved driver monitoring system and sensor suites, which can be wirelessly updated, will hand Lucid an advantage in the Auto-pilot sector.

Production of the Lucid Air is going to take place at the Casa Grande factory currently being built in Arizona. Despite set-backs due to the coronavirus, the production targets have remained on track and production is still expected to start at the end of this year. According to CEO Peter Rawlinson, state-of-the-art equipment sourced from providers world-wide is already in place at the factory expected to cost nearly $700 million dollars by mid-2020. The Air Grand Touring and Air Dream models are expected to be seen on the streets by the second quarter of 2021.

Auto Trendy’s take:

In September 2018, the Lucid Motors landed a $1 billion-dollar investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. 2 years later and production is expected to start in a new state-of-the-art factory for a sedan capable of rivaling the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan. Lucid Motors have certainly wasted no time in moving into the electric vehicle market. With the EV market in an unprecedented boom, the Lucid Air has an opportunity to establish itself in the high-end electric sedan segment. Behind the car lies a diverse team managed by employees from all kinds of different automotive backgrounds, notably former Chief Engineer of the Tesla Model S, Peter Rawlinson and former lead designer at Mazda Derek Jenkins. The experience coming from management will become a valuable asset in a market that is currently very open to newcomers.