Automotive

Lucid Motors' flagship Air to offer 200 mph+ performance

Lucid is making some bold performance claims for the Air
Lucid is making some bold performance claims for the Air
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The Lucid Air on show at the New York Auto Show 
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The Lucid Air on show at the New York Auto Show 
The Air is a handsome beast, but we're yet to see one on the road 
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The Air is a handsome beast, but we're yet to see one on the road 
Lucid is making some bold performance claims for the Air
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Lucid is making some bold performance claims for the Air
The slimline LED headlamps on the Lucid Air 
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The slimline LED headlamps on the Lucid Air 
The interior of the Air is full of screens, for infotainment and details about speed, revs and range   
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The interior of the Air is full of screens, for infotainment and details about speed, revs and range   
The rear seats of the Lucid Air are like business class for the road
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The rear seats of the Lucid Air are like business class for the road
The Lucid Motors Air is gunning for Tesla 
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The Lucid Motors Air is gunning for Tesla 
Lucid Motors has been around for a while, but the Air is its first attempt at a production car
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Lucid Motors has been around for a while, but the Air is its first attempt at a production car

Lucid Motors is one of the most exciting automotive startups since Tesla, and the big claims continue rolling in ahead of its first production car – the Air – hitting the market. We already know the base model will be cheaper than the base Tesla Model S, but a recent chat with the company has shed light on the crazy performance you can expect from its range-topping cars.

The performance potential on offer from electric cars is clear: the Tesla Model S P100D will hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than three seconds, putting it on pace with exotic hypercars, while offering seating for five and room for all their luggage. In an attempt to one up the Ludicrous best from Elon Musk, you can expect the flagship Air to hit 60 mph (98 km/h) in 2.5 seconds on its way to a top speed beyond 200 mph (322 km/h). In testing, the company has apparently seen 217 mph (349 km/h).

"It was actually software limited, as we were evaluating aero and powertrain cooling," David Salguero, Marketing Manager for Lucid Motors, told New Atlas. "The car will go faster, but we have yet to settle on a top speed. In any event, it will be a 200 mph+ car."

The slimline LED headlamps on the Lucid Air 
The slimline LED headlamps on the Lucid Air 

Performance isn't the only area where Lucid is gunning for Tesla. Whereas the largest battery pack on offer in the Model S is 100 kWh, the Air will be offered with 65, 100 or 130 kWh options, delivering a maximum range of 400 miles (644 km). According to the company, battery cell tech is where it got its start, and the Air will benefit from all its past experience.

"Lucid has actually been around for nearly 10 years," says Salguero. "Previously named Atieva, we developed battery packs for applications in several types of vehicles. Those packs have logged over 20 million real-world miles to date. So we have a great deal of experience in EV batteries.

"At the pack level, we have developed innovative packaging and cooling solutions to pack more cells in a small area while maintaining reliability. At the cell level, we have worked together with Samsung SDI to develop a cell chemistry that is far more tolerant of repeated fast-charging than the chemistries found in existing EVs. This means the Air will be able to fast charge repeatedly with minimal loss of battery capacity, which is important for owners using these vehicles in fleet applications."

The Air is a handsome beast, but we're yet to see one on the road 
The Air is a handsome beast, but we're yet to see one on the road 

Most automotive nerds will, at one point or another, have seen an image of the Tesla skateboard chassis. Lucid Motors will be taking a slightly different approach, running with a battery design that varies in depth along the length of the car. Although more complex than a single slab, the company says this allows it to maximize interior space.

"Unlike other vehicles on the market, the Air does not use a single, monolithic battery slab," Salguero told New Atlas. "Our battery is located at the bottom of the car, but has been sculpted to maximize interior space. This means there are areas where the battery is a single stack, some areas where modules are double stacked, and some areas where there are no modules to improve legroom."

All of this sounds impressive, but the car still has to actually make it to market. Lucid's goal is to put the Air into production first, although there may be a broader model range on the horizon.

The rear seats of the Lucid Air are like business class for the road
The rear seats of the Lucid Air are like business class for the road

"We are currently raising our Series D funding round," says Salguero. "Vehicle development continues during this process. Once we have concluded the funding round, we will break ground on our factory in Casa Grande Arizona and begin work on our Beta fleet of engineering prototypes. Production will begin in 2019 with deliveries starting shortly after. In the first 12 months of production, we intend to produce 10,000 vehicles."

"We are looking at future models, but at the moment our we are laser-focused on getting the Lucid Air into production."

We very much look forward to getting behind the wheel.

Scott Collie and Angus MacKenzie

5 comments
VincentWolf
Eventually electric cars will have top speeds in excess of 350 mph besting anything other than full out fuel dragsters. And nearly as quick.
highlandboy
So they plan to start production in 19 months, but have neither funding nor factory at this stage - not quite vapour-ware, but not far from it.
Bob Flint
Is that all these guys can think of is speed, really where are you all planning traveling at that deadly pace on the crappy roads & traffic we are stuck with every where...
morongobill
Hope this isn't another Elio.
Michael Wilson
I like the speed, power and range, but without a factory or even units spotted in the wild undergoing testing, I'm calling this vaporware. They could surprise us all the way Rimac did, but still, this smells like vaporware to me.
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