By on December 15, 2016

Lucid Reveal

Wednesday night, in a nondescript warehouse southeast of San Francisco, Lucid Motors revealed its first car, and the almost-production ready Air has far more to offer than its name implies. This low slung sedan is a head turning, headline-grabbing car offering up to 1,000 horsepower and a 400 mile range.

The Air is palatably futuristic. Its appearance is striking, but neither groundbreaking nor tired. Based on the numbers, it should offer real sports-sedan driving dynamics. It follows a function-before-form design ethos featuring a dash-to axle ratio near zero, a roofline dramatically lower than anything else one might reasonably compare it to, and a hatch-cum-four-door coupe profile similar to some German products. The team has less than a year before the design is frozen, which is tomorrow in car years. This is not a concept car. We may expect the images seen here to closely approximate the final article, inside and out.

lucid-interior-front-750x415

We cannot yet report on how it drives, though the company provided engineer-chauffeured rides. From the passenger seat the Air rides low, smooth, and quiet. And it accelerates like an F-16. Lucid asserts it is an uncompromising drivers car. We enthusiastically anticipate independently verifying their claim.

The interior portrays the function first, contemporary minimalist style one might expect from a California-forward auto manufacturer, or a Swedish furniture maker. A quadruple screen cockpit welcomes the driver. Three screens are mounted behind a single pane with a subtly sculpted flat bottom steering wheel in front. A retractable iPad-like 12-inch touch screen occupies the center stack. Four or five occupants, depending on option package, are cosseted in a variety of warm touch fabrics and accents. This car is built people first, rather than platform first, which enabled the inclusion of a rear executive seating package with near fold-flat reclining seats. The rear thrones may be the most comfortable seats this side of a Gulfstream V. The company says the car has a Mercedes E-class like footprint with an S-Class like interior volume.

lucid-air-above-roof-750x468

Lucid has officially joined the race with Faraday Future, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and others to build the first proper Tesla Model S rival. And while Lucid is not a household name, neither is it a personal electronics maker or an internet search engine operator trying to break into a new industry. Lucid is a company with a singular automotive focus. It is stacked with auto industry insiders and has been active in the development of Lithium-ion Battery technology since 2007.

The company has existed for almost a decade, but was little known 11 months ago, and just gave itself a new name in October. The rebranding has now begun in earnest. The little company-that-may has been on a roll since releasing video in July depicting its re-powered Mercedes Metris minivan drag racing and defeating both a Tesla and a Ferrari. In November , Lucid brought the Air to the LA Auto Show, albeit under artful camouflage. The company announced in late November that it inked a deal to build a new $700 million production facility in Arizona. Then, three days ago, the company announced a development breakthrough made in conjunction with its battery partner Samsung SDI, enabling its tremendous 2.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration and Baltimore to Boston range.

lucid-motors-executive-seating-750x499

The Air will employ a standard 100 kWh battery pack, similar in size to Tesla’s most recent top-end unit. To achieve its promised 400-mile range, customers will need to opt for the optional 130 kWh battery pack. Lucid is not the only company aiming to deliver a battery pack capable of 400 miles on a single charge, but it may be the first to market if it delivers on its late 2018 production schedule. Pricing is predictably fluid at this point, though reservations are being accepted. Expect early high-content Airs to retail around $150,000 with later follow-on models at around half that.

[Images: Lucid Motors]

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33 Comments on “Lucid Motors Reveals ‘Air’ EV Super Sedan – Will It Be Rarefied or a Total Vacuum?...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Very impressive.

    I assume there’s some way of tinting that roof so the occupants don’t roast on a sunny day.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    “…car offering up to 1,000 horsepower and a 400 mile range.”

    I’m betting that it’s more like either/or than and.

    A 130 kw-h battery supplying a 1000 hp motor (746 kw, ignoring energy conversion losses) would last less than 10.5 minutes.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Like a gasoline car you aren’t going to get the best mileage under full throttle. Until we see an actual car test this is just fodder for the investors, or suckers depending upon your thoughts.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        Two issues:

        Efficiency of gas engines is actually better at higher throttles than steady driving (the BSHP island is around half-throttle at max torque-rpm), the issue [for both cars] is that rapid driving means nasty aero losses.

        Batteries aren’t too happy about being drained fast (the motor probably doesn’t lose any efficiency) and you might see an issue there (while the gas engine gets a bit more efficient, the electric motor won’t be helped at all). Don’t be surprised if this is fixed by a bunch of capacitors. A few of them could end most [battery side] problems in electric car muscle [the motor side is worse. While displacement is pretty cheap to add, motor costs tend to scale directly with horsepower].

        Sure, you will need to fill up either if you hoon around, but it isn’t due to the efficiency of the engines.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      I believe a Veyron or Hellcat will drain their tanks in about the same amount of time at full power.

      I just looked it up, at full bore a Hellcat burns 1.5 gallons per minute. With an 18.5 gallon tank it will run dry in 12.3 minutes.

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        fred, jmo +1

        People forget that energy is energy, regardless whether it’s stored in gasoline or batteries. With high power draws, either will drain quickly.

        I think it was Top Gear who said that a single sprint to 250 mph in the Veyron used up an entire tank of gas.

      • 0 avatar
        TheDoctorIsOut

        You can refill your Hellcat at any gas station in less than 5 minutes.

        The Lucid? Unless they also introduce high voltage recharging or swappable battery packs they will be at the same disadvantage as every one of their EV competitors.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaMaximaCulpa

        The limited range of a Veyron at full tilt is a nice safety feature, going full tilt for labour 15 minutes would blow the tires ending in expensive tears ;).

        On a serious note, I highly doubt that an electric car can maintain it’s horsepower raining for any length of time due to limitations in the discharge rate of batteries.

        A tesla model S doing a 1/4 mile drag run uses 1.1 kWh, so this thing should use around 9 kWh per mile going full tilt, or a range of 15 miles.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Looks like tons of room in the back seat, but the trunk must be tiny. Other than that, I like the looks of this better than the Model S (which is looking pretty dated these days, and not just because of the 70s-era font on the nameplate). I actually hope this becomes a real car for sale someday soon.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    That’s the kind of interior that Tesla should be striving for. Modern and minimalist, while looking luxurious, soft and comfortable.

    Tesla’s got the minimalist part down, but they have a way to go on the other fronts. The backseat of the Model S looks like a park bench.

  • avatar
    dartman

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/articleComments/Lucid-Motors-unveils-new-electric-car-to-10796760.php

    Better information about the company.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Impressive. I wonder if they plan to compete with Tesla’s charging network as well.

    Hurry up with the desirable not-$100K+ EVs already damnit.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I have a theory that high-end EVs are the best way to create demand for low-end EVs. Plenty of high-end EVs might cause the buying public to associate electric powered cars with luxury, performance, and wealth. If EVs become status symbols, the average person might be willing to pay a bit extra for electric power at the low-end. It’s just a theory, but I think people will go for status over saving the environment or low costs. Just concentrate on the luxury market and the demand at the low end will build.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        Wantin’ ain’t gettin’.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I agree mcs, Tesla wouldn’t have had much luck with the Model 3 pre orders had the Model S (and later X) created buzz and established the brand in many eyes that had no clue what it was, or didn’t care, when they were building just the little roadster. If they went from the roadster to the Model 3 (like vehicle), I don’t know if they would have had much of any momentum.

        The high-end Model S was the vehicle in which the anticipation for the affordable Model 3 arrived in. People said “I want THAT, but on my budget”.

        The Bolt, credit given for being true to word on range/price and arriving as planned, never had that going for it.

        How disappointed Model 3 owners become remains to be seen. I believe some are expecting a Model S level car, just smaller… and cheap, for some reason. What has to be given up to meet the proper goals set by Tesla itself will be the key.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Hurry up with the desirable not-$100K+ EVs already damnit.”

      I get that your inclusion of “desirable” is a swat at the Bolt but as GM’s tepid commitment to its availability and production volume seems to show, does any OEM really *want* to provide not-$100K+ EVs?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I like it.

    Of course, it’s a long way from a running prototype to production (see Model X, Model 3). Actually building stuff is hard, and so is servicing it. Will they have dealers, or direct sales?

    The charging protocol is a big question for me. I wonder if they’ll join Porsche’s 800V initiative.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I keep seeing “impressive”, and I whole-heartedly agree. Of all the electric start ups “almost, about, any day now” to release new cars, this looks the most realistic, and the first I would be interested in from a style/design point of view. I like it, a lot.

    That interior. I’d rather drive than be driven, at least that is how I’ve always thought. But those freakin’ THRONES! Man those back seats look like THE place to sip expensive coffee, and buy and sell people on your device while the lesser folk drive themselves to work in their CLAs and Camrys.

    I love the dash compared to the Model S’s supersized smart phone single screen. Breaking it up was smart.

    You ever look at a car and think “they got it right, this is how a car of this type is supposed to look”? I didn’t get that with the Model S. Oh, I thought the Model S was/is handsome enough (the earlier iteration more so), and the interior was/is alright, but it just isn’t all it could be. This looks a lot more like it. This is what a premium electric super sedan should look like.

    Elon better step up with a redesigned/heavily refreshed Model S. His darling flagship looks like a W body Impala next to this.

    I love the idea of a four place car, front and rear console, four buckets. Its so classy and upscale, at least to me. Nobody ever sits in the middle rear seat, its wasted almost all the time. But, if that was an issue, fine, get the 5 passenger version.

  • avatar
    Steve65

    Southeast of San Francisco puts you in the middle of the bay…

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    I really like the exterior design. The interior design is good too but for some reason, I think the actual car’s interior will be noticeably different from what we see here. I like the fact that the electric and hybrid cars look different from the petrol cars. I realize some of these “different” looks are seen as ugly by the market but I just like their being different.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Am I the only one thinking that this is what the new Lincoln Continental should have looked like?

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    Looks nice, but will they get the capital to produce and market it on a competitive scale?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    So pretty. So far out of my price range. But, it’s still nice knowing it may be out there one day. I hope some of this design language spills out to the rest of the automotive landscape. The eventual Vellum/Venom is something I look forward to.

  • avatar
    Dave W

    A BE-utiful concept. But until they start letting the public get their greasy fingers on actual cars consider me unimpressed with the company. If they’ve just inked the deal for a factory a month ago how dated will this car look before the first production chassis rolls down the line? I hope they can do it, but I’m not their market.

    Elio has at least made several iterations public. Admittedly they are aiming at a demographic where they need everyone to be aware they exist in hopes of coaxing some into buying. Still more then one example would show they’re doing more then massaging a one off to a level their production cars can’t match at an economic price. It is possible to lose money even at $150K per, (Ask VW about Bugatti) particularly when selling to people used to getting every cent they spend back in comfort or exclusivity. Double particularly when they feel it’s more important for the car to be seen with them, then them to be seen in the car.

  • avatar

    Reminds me of the late ’60s Lamborghini Marzal concept.

    If Lambo could have thrown away the half-a-V12 engine idea and magicked Li-Po battery technology out of a hat for it…


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