Clearing the Air: Lucid Motors Base Sedan Starts at $52,500, Unless You Still Need 1,000 Horsepower

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
clearing the air lucid motors base sedan starts at 52 500 unless you still need

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]

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  • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Mar 16, 2017

    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.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 16, 2017

      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.

  • Akatsuki Akatsuki on Mar 16, 2017

    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.

  • Analoggrotto By the time any of Hyundai's Japanese competitors were this size and age, they produced iconic vehicles which are now highly desirable and going for good money used. But Hyundai/Kia have nothing to this point that anyone will care about in the future. Those 20k over MSRP Tellurides? Worn out junk sitting at the used car lot, worn beyond their actual age. Hyundai/Kia has not had anything comparable to the significance of CVCC, 240Z, Supra, Celica, AE86, RX-(7), 2000GT, Skyline, GT-R, WRX, Evo, Preludio, CRX, Si, Land Cruiser, NSX etc. All of this in those years where Detroiters and Teutonic prejudiced elitists were openly bashing the Japanese with racist derogatory language. Tiger Woods running off the road in a Genesis didn't open up a moment, and the Genesis Sedan featuring in Inception didn't matter any more than the Lincoln MKS showing up for a moment in Dark Knight. Hyundai/Kia are too busy attempting to re-invent others' history for themselves. But hey, they have to start somewhere and the N74 is very cool looking. Hyundai/Kia's biggest fans are auto Journalists who for almost 2 decades have been hyping them up to deafening volumes contributing further distrust in any media.
  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)