Lucid Motors’ production EV turned out to be a much more reasonable entry than anyone expected. The media buzz was that LM’s Air would be a super-sedan offering up to 1,000 horsepower and a 400 mile range — a real Tesla killer. With a 1,000 horses and instantaneous torque, it would actually shame just about everything else on the road, regardless of how it was powered. However, as is so often the case with EV startups, the reality is significantly more nuanced than the hype.
That doesn’t mean Lucid can’t be a massive thorn in Tesla’s side, though. Looking over the freshly released details of the Air reveals a highly competitive base model (on paper) and, since this is the base model, there remains room for that ludicrously powerful and extravagantly priced car we were promised.
In the interim, consumers will just have to be satisfied with a much more affordable unit, but it still outdoes the base model Tesla in terms of power, range, and price.
Until the Model 3 comes to market, Tesla’s cheapest offering is the $68,000 Model S 60, which is essentially a digitally neutered Model S 75. Lucid Motors’ said its Air will begin at $52,500, after accounting for the federal tax credits available to those purchasing battery electric vehicles. For the money, shoppers get rear-wheel drive and 400 electric ponies to the Model S’ 360.
The all-important maximum range is superior, too. While the Model S 60 is theoretically capable of more if you pay the extra money to unlock it, the base BEV is only rated for 210 miles between charges. Lucid claims its car can manage 240 without needing to be juiced again. That’s not earth shattering by today’s standards, but it’s serviceable and another small victory for the electrified newcomer over America’s current BEV golden boy.
However, these aren’t the gargantuan numbers or price tag were were we expected. What exactly happened?
Lucid’s marketing director, Zak Edson, explains the “confusion” as the result of the press car being a better-equipped example.
“The car that we have been showing publicly represents a well-optioned Lucid Air, leading to confusion regarding the price range. Much of the speculation suggests that the starting price of the car will be over $100,000, which is not accurate,” Edson said.
Marketing magic, basically. Lucid Motors’ knew the press would be more interested in a 1,000 hp hyper-sedan, alluded to it heavily, and then didn’t bother to correct anyone. That said, the company didn’t make the press into liars, either. Edson did specify that the Air would come with 315 and 400 mile range battery options, as well as a 1,000 horsepower twin-motor configuration with all-wheel drive. Those options will be available at launch, and the price of that trim will surpass $100,000. By how much it’ll go past that six-figure amount is anyone’s guess.
A lot of that final sum will be dependent upon how the company decides to price the optional extras, some of which are downright extravagant. While the base model will have an impressive level of connectivity and all the hardware necessary for autonomous driving, features like a glass-canopy roof and reclinable executive rear-seating with massage functions will have to be tacked on to the premium trims. However it’s handled, as long as Lucid doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Faraday Future or make a nicely equipped Air prohibitively expensive, it looks like we’ll get that potential “Tesla Killer™” after all.
[Images: Lucid Motors]