By on March 15, 2017

Lucid Air

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. 

Lucid Air

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 Air

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.

Lucid Air

[Images: Lucid Motors]

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10 Comments on “Clearing the Air: Lucid Motors Base Sedan Starts at $52,500, Unless You Still Need 1,000 Horsepower...”

  • avatar

    Anybody know what their distribution model is? Factory direct or dealers?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That’s a good-looking car, and I wish them well.

    But there remain some pesky problems:

    1. Long-distance charging that isn’t named ‘Supercharger’ is still spotty or non-existent in many parts of the US, with a variety of players responsible for maintaining the chargers.

    2. Lucid hasn’t built any cars; Tesla has built almost 200k over 8 years’ time, and is about to hockey-stick upwards with the Model 3. Experience is costly.

    3. Battery sourcing: If Lucid is going to truly compete with Tesla on volume, they are years behind in terms of car production, but more importantly, in battery production. Samsung won’t be able to match the Gigafactory’s future volume.

    • 0 avatar

      1. In long distance charging, the new game is the 320+ kW charging which both Tesla and the Europeans are quickly moving towards. Not sure what these guys are supporting, but if it’s not the new standards, they are toast. Here’s a look at VWs “Electrify America” network which sounds promising:

      3. As far as battery sourcing goes, I know of at least one technology which shortens the drying time and eliminates the space needed by the electrode drying process, so they are able to produce cells in less space and much much faster. Anyone implementing this tech could match the gigafactory output in a fraction of the space. The lab that developed the technology is already delivering early production samples to potential customers. Ultimately, larger companies will handle mass production and those factories are being developed. I think they will be in mass production around 2020.

  • avatar

    That car looks like they tried so hard to keep the spirit of a design sketch with exaggerated proportions and visual features, and succeeded to the point it doesn’t look like a good car anymore.

    Coming from a design student, BTW.

    Anyway, I guess of the price is right, along with range and recharging, it won’t be too bad. The design won’t age well however, unlike the Model S.

  • avatar

    What “production” EV?

  • avatar

    I’ll believe all that when I see one on the road. Till then, the words “pipe dream” spring to mind.

  • avatar

    The real question in my mind isn’t about the drivetrain, but about whether the rest of the car holds up to This Is Actually A Good Car standards. The Model S doesn’t. Will the windows rattle when you shut the doors? The Tesla’s do. Does the wind whistle and thrum at highway speed? It does in the Tesla. Will the interior look nice but feel hollow, like a movie set? The Tesla’s does. Will the ergonomics be horribly compromised in favor of an abstract goal? The Tesla’s are. Will the sharp edges of the door handles rub you the wrong way as they flex and wobble? The Tesla’s do.

    Building an electric car isn’t a huge issue these days, it seems. But building an actual vehicle that holds up to the not terribly high standards set by any Accord or Sonata or (mostly) Fusion seems to be much more difficult, and until EV makers crack that nut, they’re going to find their markets limited to people who buy based on idealism. That’s enough for Tesla right now. I doubt it will be enough for all of them in 10 years.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Real – or perceived – quality issues aren’t the barriers to widespread EV adoption yet. Range anxiety, charging requirements, price, and depreciation are much bigger issues.

      The quality stuff has affected Tesla, but also Ford and Fiat, for example. The latter makes would see their cars shut off for no reason (software bugs). But those cars were conversions from ICEs, so their experience in building coachwork comes through. My former Leaf had no quality issues – ever, but I’m sure it’s because Nissan has a deep bench when it comes to designing and building cars.

      As for Tesla, I *believe* their early teething problems are fading on both models they sell. Model 3 – who knows.

  • avatar

    The price is right. But man is the styling crap.

    The front end looks like a 1990 Celica. Hello, 2000 called and want their beaded LED DRLs back. The back looks like a Buick and some other car that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

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