It's easy to be dubious about EV start-ups with plans to trump Tesla dating back to 2017 and financial backing from rich Middle Eastern business folk. However, Lucid Motors has spent the past three years developing a potentially game-changing EV luxo-saloon. And unlike many start-ups that never reach production, Lucid Motors has now officially launched the Lucid Air range to the world.
Lucid Motors is launching four distinct models over the coming 18-or-so months. These are as follows:
All of the above cars charge at a maximum rate of 300 miles in just 20 minutes on DC ultra-rapid charging such as that available from Electrify America in the States or IONITY here in Europe.
To start with these are available to order by customers in the USA and Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland – plus selected markets in the Middle East. Don't fret though; Lucid is going to make a right-hand-drive model for the UK, but we'll just have to wait.
The Lucid Air Dream Edition is the all-singing, all-dancing version of the super saloon so it's little wonder that Lucid is so keen to get it on sale earlier rather than later. It's essentially the one we've been waxing lyrical about in our previous stories. The Dream Edition will be produced in limited numbers before, we presume, a regular top-spec Air takes over.
Powering it will be the 1080bhp dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup which should see the Air leave even the Porsche Taycan for dead in a straight line. The Taycan Turbo S will run 10.4 second quarter miles all day long; Lucid is promising the same distance in 9.9 seconds alongside a promise of Porsche-like repeatability and consistency. Nothing from Tesla can compete with the Taycan, so the Air is very much next-level.
Range-wise, the Dream Edition will beat the 500 mile mark with 19 inch wheels, but with the unique 21 inch AeroDream wheels this takes a knock to a still incredible 465 miles – helped by a mind bogglingly low drag coefficient of 0.21. And buyers of the Dream Edition will want the AeroDream wheels for their special badging signifying the fact the car is a limited run model. Colour-wise, they can opt for Stellar White, Infinite Black or a Dream Edition-exclusive Eureka Gold finish.
At £132,000 in UK prices the Dream Edition isn't cheap, and we doubt it will offer the depth of dynamic ability that the Porsche Taycan delivers, but we still reckon it represents good value in the context of luxury EVs.
Lucid Motors calls these the “heart of the Lucid Air line-up”. Offering 620bhp and 800bhp respectively, they are going to make up the majority of Lucid Air sales given their competitive pricing (for the segment) and blend of performance and range.
The Grand Touring gains the 113kWh battery pack which enables it to achieve 517 miles on a charge. According to Lucid, achieving this record level of efficiency is down to a decade of work and 20 million miles of testing. In addition, race-proven battery packs, miniaturised motors and power electronics, integrated transmission systems, aerodynamics, chassis and thermal systems, and software have all been honed for maximum range.
We reckon that the Lucid Air is going to be a genuine consideration for buyers choosing between top-spec Teslas, the aforementioned Porsche and, when the base version comes out, cars like the Polestar 2. As such, it can't just be a stand-out powertrain with not much else to boast about.
Thankfully the Lucid Air isn't a one trick pony.
The interior follows Lucid's Space Concept which has been a process of shrinking vital components to maximise the cabin space and therefore comfort. A rear three-seat bench is standard; as is class-leading legroom, but opt for twin rear seats and passengers can recline at up to 55 degrees for a snooze on the move. Under the bonnet the frunk is good for a class-leading 280 litres of space, and throughout the car there's 739 litres of luggage room.
Technology comes in abundance. Up front a 34 inch wraparound 'floating' glass cockpit displays information in 5K. As you'd expect, it's a touchscreen interface but a nice touch is the retention of some physical controls for key systems like temperature and audio volume. The Air comes with a range of advanced driver-assistance systems for safety, with 32 sensors covering vision, radar and ultrasonics as well as a high-definition LIDAR as standard. Autonomous driving at up to Level 3 is supported. Over-the-air updates ensure the Air is always running the latest software versions.
We have found ourselves increasingly attracted to the Lucid Air the more we have learnt about it. Now that Lucid has released the pricing it's even more intriguing a prospect in the luxury EV saloon segment. Nothing comes close to it in performance and range, and in almost all other respects that we can gauge from a spec sheet it's at least on-par with rivals. Whether this translates to real-world quality and an engaging driving experience remains to be seen, but from our perspective it's a welcome addition to the EV market.