By on September 29, 2021

Production of the 2022 Lucid Air started this week, adding another automaker to the North American roster. The manufacturer held an event on September 28th, inviting Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, relevant executives, big-time investors, select media outlets, and customers who dropped $170,000 to purchase the limited Dream Edition of the electric vehicle.

While often framed as a Tesla ripoff, Lucid Motors has been setting its sights so high that it hardly feels like a fair assessment. Because the Air is offering one of the most impressive all-electric spec sheets in the industry right now and should probably worry the competition.

“The proprietary EV technology that Lucid has developed will make it possible to travel more miles using less battery energy. For example, our Lucid Air Grand Touring has an official EPA rating of 516 miles of range with a 112-kWh battery pack, giving it an industry-leading efficiency of 4.6 miles per kWh. Our technology will allow for increasingly lighter, more efficient, and less expensive EVs, and today represents a major step in our journey to expand the accessibility of more sustainable transportation,” Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO of Lucid Group, said at the event. “I’m delighted that production cars endowed with this level of efficiency are currently driving off our factory line.”

With manufacturing duties split between the Advanced Manufacturing Plant (AMP-1) and nearby Lucid Powertrain Manufacturing (LPM-1), the company thinks it should be able to commence deliveries in October. However, that will be limited to the 520 all-wheel-drive Dream Edition cars people paid extra for. The Range variant offers 520 miles on a single charge while the Performance model is said to offer an operating area of 451 miles and enough horsepower to breeze through a quarter-mile in 9.9 seconds at 144 mph.

Next on the production docket will be the 800-hp Lucid Air Grand Touring ($139,000).

Lucid said it currently has around 13,000 reservation holders, though its survival will hinge on its sales performance after those deliveries are handled and it has to focus on base (which will be rear-drive only) and mid-trimmed cars. While the manufacturer has said those models won’t have the same charging capacities as cars boasting higher MSRPs, everything is supposed to yield a maximum range in excess of 400 miles and retain DC fast-charging capability. Customers will also get three full years of free access to Electrify America charging stations.

All in all, it’s sounding quite good for Lucid. But we’ll have to wait and see if it can maintain momentum and reach the same heights that Tesla has. Lucid Motors has made some bold assertions about the future and it could be undone if has to break a bunch of promises regarding the lesser trims or quality control becomes an issue. This is a brand-new automaker, after all.

But things are looking up for the time being and the company is even considering subsequent vehicles. AMP-1 is supposed to begin production of an all-electric SUV using much of the same technology that’s gone into the Air. Its launch has tentatively been scheduled for sometime in 2023.

[Images: Lucid Motors]

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24 Comments on “Lucid Motors Becomes an Automaker...”

  • avatar

    At $170k and $139k, these are fun to look at and read/write about, but far out of reach for most people. If they get around to developing an actually affordable EV, then I think perhaps the competition will be worried.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m cheering for them on principle because I want to see a competitive EV marketplace!

      But a Tesla is a better value.

    • 0 avatar

      I am cheering on principle as well but the cost of these pretty hefty. The market for cars in this price range has to be pretty small to begin with, there are more alternatives coming on line all the time not to mention gas and hybrid cars from traditional automakers competing in this price range.

      I would be curious to know what a “base” version of this car could cost, I doubt it goes too far below 100k if it could even get that low. At such low volume, rich investors will likely be the only thing that can keep the lights on until they can get a model closer to the sweet spot in terms of pricing which I would think would be in the 40-60k range. At that price, will be interesting to see how the Lucid vehicles stack up against other EV players.

  • avatar

    “while the Performance model is said to offer an operating area of 451 miles and enough horsepower to breeze through a quarter-mile in 9.9 seconds at 144 mph.”

    I can’t wait for the howls of derision when a stripped, caged version of one of these shows up at Hot Rod Drag Week or RMRW, and starts turning in 8-second ETs. A Tesla Plaid (towing a three-phase diesel-powered genset from track to track!) competed in RMRW 2.0 last week, and it consistently turned low 9s in the quarter.

  • avatar

    It’s nice to see the world class, bleeding edge tech coming from an American company for a change.

    • 0 avatar

      An American company owned by the Saudis, right?

      From The Verge: “Talks with investors and even automakers like Ford eventually fell apart, and Lucid Motors took loans from a hedge fund and a Chinese bus company to keep the lights on, using its intellectual property as collateral.

      Lucid Motors then found a savior in Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in 2018. The two sides announced a $1 billion deal in September of that year, just a few weeks before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi brutally murdered. That injection of cash, plus subsequent investments from the fund, have given Saudi Arabia majority ownership of Lucid Motors. (It was also a major participant in the funding round that took place alongside the SPAC merger, which is one reason for how Lucid Motors raised so much money in this transaction.)”

      • 0 avatar

        “Washington Post journalist” Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi subject (not ‘citizen’) and he was an agent of Qatar, having contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood, outlawed in Saudi Arabia as a terrorist group.

        The Muslim Brotherhood attempted to assassinate the Crown Prince and failed, but penetrated palace security deeper than they should have, unless they had inside information. Saudi security determined that Khashoggi was the source.

        Khashoggi stayed out of the country to avoid being executed for treason, but had to renew his passport at the Saudi embassy in Turkey, under international law, sovereign Saudi territory. He was executed there, and his body parts removed using privileged diplomatic “pouches”, to avoid objections by Turkey.

        When you try to kill the king of an absolute monarchy, or the Crown Prince running the country in place of his senile elderly father, you’d better kill him. That’s why there was no international diplomatic outcry, just tut-tutting from the press who believed he was a “journalist”.

      • 0 avatar

        The Saudis aren’t stupid.

        Sell both sunscreen and umbrellas. Or, in this case, gasoline and EVs.

        I wouldn’t want to live in Saudi Arabia, but they are setting up a heads-i-win / tails-you-loose situation. I respect the forethought, even if I don’t share their values — I even let my wife drive!

    • 0 avatar

      Pretty much everyone still considers Volvo to be a Swedish company, despite being owned by Geely….

      • 0 avatar

        The difference being that Geely is smart enough to allow Volvo to run themselves as if they were still a Swedish-owned company, while providing the financing. Which is a mode of operations that supposedly smarter automobile manufacturers (looking at you GM) couldn’t figure out.

        Volvo’s current existence is why I take Geely a lot more seriously than any other Chinese automobile manufacturer.

  • avatar

    The interior is less goofy than a Tesla but not by much.
    My major hope of the Dodge EV (if it ever exists) is that it will offer relatively analog interface.

  • avatar

    “516 miles of range with a 112-kWh battery pack, giving it an industry-leading efficiency of 4.6 miles per kWh”

    Impressive stuff. Compare to these little things here:

    (Ford F-150 Lightning is estimated at something like 2.0-2.2 miles per kWh.)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “we’ll have to wait and see if it can maintain momentum and reach the same heights that Tesla has”

    That’s unlikely, but also unnecessary.

    Some reviewers think the Air outshines the Model S in performance, range, interior, and quality. If they can carve out a faithful market niche, they could do OK.

    Prototype Airs have been running around for at least 4 years, so I expect this car to perform well in the wild.

    That 4.6 miles/kWh is exceptional, especially for such a big car – good for them.

    • 0 avatar

      The interior looks much nicer to me than a Tesla, but I am old school and don’t care for the gimmicky stuff. They look nice enough on the outside. The pre-production cars all have pretty good reviews. If they don’t have quality control issues they should do OK.

  • avatar

    I am pretty impressed that there are now 3-5 new automobile manufacturers this decade!

  • avatar

    Another delusion created. And probably will be phrased by current administration and credits will be assigned for creating more green manufacturers and cars.

    • 0 avatar

      What delusion? You either start producing cars on a production line, or you don’t. You want to talk numbers as an indication of reality? Keep in mind that the majority of automotive marques that are considered extremely desirable in retrospect never came close to turning out 50,000 cars in their lifetime.

  • avatar

    I am so enjoying watching a couple of EV-only manufacturers, hammered for the past couple of years by this crowd, achieve production. Gee, maybe EV’s have a future.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The ones with a chance seem to follow a similar pattern:

      Early running prototypes
      Unique product features
      Robust mfg and supply chain development
      Reliable financing
      Steady leadership
      Long-term focus and commitment

      Examples = Tesla of course, but optimistic about Rivian and Lucid

      The charlatans always lack one or more of these elements.

      Examples = Faraday Future, Lordstown, Elio. It’s even possible the legacy mfrs could fail at this, due to the distractions of the entrenched dealer network and legacy vehicles they build.

  • avatar

    I’m just happy that my tax dollars will help buyers of this $170 thousand dollar car out with a $7500 rebate. Hopefully this will help them pay part of their county club dues for this year.

  • avatar

    Tesla is the Starbucks of electric cars, and there is only room for one. This company will not duplicate their success even if the product is superior, because that’s not why people by Teslas. Ford and GM won’t have that kind of success either, regardless of the product. These second comers will have to get by on their merits, price and value. And $100,000+ cars do not represent good value in any way shape or form. But good luck anyway!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Uh, what will they do when Lexus/Mercedes/JLR come out with their EV flagships? Technical competence, history, and cachet sell those three. An upstart EV built in a factory that should be made into GM’s Shrine To Mediocrity will be a hard sell to those who lease a six-figure vehicle.

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