It seems like electric mobility startups are a dime a dozen at the moment, with everyone from Faraday Future to LeEco planning to revolutionize battery-powered cars with longer range, prettier design and a more engaging drive. Having announced plans to build a high-performance, self-driving electric vehicle earlier this year, Lucid Motors has now taken the next step toward production, whipping the covers off the Air at an event in California yesterday.
On paper, the Air certainly has the specs to take on Tesla. With up to 1,000 hp (745 kW) on tap, the car will sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 2.5 seconds, matching the time set by the latest Tesla Model S with Ludicrous Mode engaged. Claimed range is around 400 miles (644 km) and the company says its battery design, which has been in development for the past 10 years, is more tolerant of fast charging than conventional designs.
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Rather than turning to an external company for its batteries, Lucid says it has developed its entire powertrain in house. Before announcing plans to get into the electric car game the company was called Atieva, and focused on developing battery and electric drivetrain tech. It also built the giant battery packs used in Chinese buses, although that has taken a back seat since the decision to take on Tesla was announced.
Why are we telling you all of this? Because it shows that the company has some experience with electric vehicles. Although there's no guarantee Lucid will be able to deliver on its claims – or even deliver a car at all – a company with past experience in electric vehicles has a better chance of producing a viable production car than a startup with a grand plan but no history in the business.
One of the major benefits of running with batteries and electric motors is interior space. With no bulky drivetrain to take up space, it's possible to have a completely flat floor and push the dashboard further forward, meaning more space can be squeezed out of compact packages. Volkswagen says its Golf-sized iD concept has a Passat-sized interior, and Tesla cabins have oodles of room for phones, wallets and all the other junk drivers carry around because of the low center console.
Rear seat passengers are the real winners in the Lucid Air, with seats that recline up to 55 degrees and more legroom than you'd expect from a petrol-powered car of the same size. With no grumbly engine up front making noise and noise cancellation in use, a quiet ride can be expected, provided there isn't too much road noise from rolling tires and the 29 speaker sound system isn't cranked up all the way to max of course.
Connectivity is emerging as one of the most important elements in new-car design, so Lucid has developed a mobile app to work in tandem with the car. Although the company doesn't give much detail about what it can do, you can expect the app to share live information about battery charge level and allow drivers to set the air conditioning/heating before they get in. Depending on the direction taken by Lucid, the app could even be used as a hub for car sharing, following in the footsteps of newcomer Lynk & Co.
Another crucial battleground in modern car development is autonomous driving tech, and all Lucid cars will come with a comprehensive sensor-suite for self-driving. Like Tesla, the company plans to roll out functionality through over-the-air updates, allowing new features to be added without any hardware changes or dealer contact.
Lucid is aiming for production to start in 2018 and is planning on selling its electric car for upwards of US$100,000. The company also has plans to release a $65,000 car further down the line, but no details have been provided about what that will look like.
Source: Lucid MotorsView gallery - 13 images