Currently reading: Lucid Air: 1065bhp EV officially unveiled with 517-mile range
UK-bound Tesla Model S rival, priced from around £40,000, is the fastest-charging electric car on sale
Felix Page Autocar writer
News
4 mins read
10 September 2020

California-based EV start-up Lucid has revealed the production version of its Air saloon, an electric performance saloon with up to 1065bhp and a claimed maximum range of 517 miles. 

The marque’s debut model is claimed to be “the most aerodynamic luxury car in the world”, with a drag co-efficient of just 0.21 - 0.01 less than the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, for reference. With an (unrestricted) top speed of 235mph, it will be the fastest electric production car on sale.  

Lucid said the Air can cover a quarter-mile sprint in as little as 9.9sec, making it the first electric saloon to break the 10-second barrier, and adds that it can achieve this feat on a “consistent, repeatable basis”. 

The Air will be available in four trim levels to start with. The standard car, available from $52,100 (£40,040) including the US’s EV tax credit, uses a single electric motor to send 395bhp to the rear wheels and is capable of a claimed 240-mile range from a 75kWh battery pack supplied by Samsung

The Touring model bumps power up to 612bhp, range to 406 miles and the list price to $87,500 (£67,250), while the Grand Touring packs 789bhp, costs $131,500 (£101,060) and is capable of the maximum claimed range figure.

Buyers who want the full 1065bhp output will need to spend $161,500 (£124,130) for the top-rung, four-wheel-drive Dream Edition, which is capable of sprinting from 0-60mph in 2.5sec. It also brings a bespoke interior design trimmed in leather and eucalyptus wood, and a set of unique 21in wheels. Lucid says production of the top-spec car will be limited, but has yet to confirm numbers. 

All variants are claimed to be capable of recuperating 300 miles of range in just 20 minutes at a DC fast charger, making the Air “the fastest-charging electric vehicle ever offered”, according to Lucid. 

The Air has been brought to production largely unaltered from the futuristic prototype first displayed in 2016, and retains its distinctive wraparound front light bar, which uses a ‘micro lens array’ system comprising thousands of individual, digitally controlled ‘light channels’ to offer bright, precise and flexible illumination.

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Aerodynamic efficiency is aided by the Air’s long, low silhouette, curved corners and short overhangs, while the cabin has been designed to offer a “light and airy feel”, with thin window pillars and a glass roof. Five seats feature as standard, but the rear bench can be swapped out for two ‘executive’-style chairs as an optional upgrade. 

Designed with an emphasis on space, the interior is dominated by a 34in curved screen that appears to float above the dashboard and offers 5k display quality - far higher than a conventional infotainment system, and a retractable ‘pilot panel’ touchscreen sits within easy reach of the driver, giving control of certain systems and functions. 

Not all controls are digital, however; physical buttons - said to be precision-milled - are used for the ribbed steering wheel functions and climate control, and Lucid has worked with Amazon to implement Alexa voice-recognition software, which can be used for navigation, phone calls, music streaming and smart home control. 

The Air sits atop Lucid’s own Electric Advanced Platform (LEAP), which minimises incursion from the powertrain into the cabin, allowing for a larger cabin area. The architecture also forms the basis for the firm’s upcoming SUV model, expected to share most of the Air’s mechanical make-up. 

Air suspension with regenerative valve technology also features, and is claimed to offer segment-leading ride quality.

Lucid claims the Air’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) is “a first-of-its-kind platform”. It comprises 32 individual sensors covering vision, radar and ultrasonics, a high-resolution Lidar sensor and advanced high-definition mapping software to offer level two and level three autonomous functionality. 

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The Air is Lucid’s first foray into the production EV market. CEO Peter Rawlinson - who previously served as chief engineer of the Tesla Model S, the Air’s primary rival - hailed the new arrival as a “halo car for the entire industry, one which shows the advancements that are possible by pushing the boundaries of EV technology and performance to new levels”.

Derek Jenkins, vice-president of design at Lucid, said: “When we embarked on this journey at Lucid Motors and the development of our first vehicle, the Lucid Air, we refused to compromise. We decided early on that we were going to pursue every facet of performance, innovation, and luxury.

“The result is that we are building the best car in the world and the numbers simply speak for themselves.

Launching initially in the US in spring next year, the Air is also now available to order in selected European countries and the Middle East. A UK launch date remains unconfirmed, but it can now be reserved online for a £770 deposit.

Lucid will build the new car and its SUV stablemate at a £546 million, purpose-built factory in Casa Grande, Arizona. Some 2000 workers will be employed at the plant by 2022, with the company aiming to ultimately produce 20,000 units per year. The firm also plans to open 20 retail and service centres across the US by 2021. 

READ MORE

1000bhp Lucid Air electric saloon reaches 235mph in test​

Construction of Lucid Motors factory begins in US​

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Comments
22

10 September 2020
Is this the same unreasonably wide EV that pops up from time to time in Autocar articles? If so, this 2200mm wide car (that's the width I remember being quoted) wont stand a chance in many places outside the us

10 September 2020
PS - Just looked up the spec, quoted width is 1950mm. In which case another question arises, is headroom compromised given the proportions of the car?

10 September 2020

I would like to know what the bill would be when the truck in front of you throws up a little rock which puts a nice big crack in that windscreen/roof.

10 September 2020

when a minor ding takes out part of your wrap-around, multi, micro lens headlight array or puts a few of the sensors out of alignment.....

That being said, imo it’s way better looking inside and out than anything Tesla have produced to date.

10 September 2020

Impressive EV. A Truely innovative car that gives the consumers a creme of the crop options other than a Tesla

10 September 2020

Quote - “we are building the best car in the world and the numbers simply speak for themselves”.  It would be impressive if a start-up achieved the best car in the world at their first attempt however there’s a lot of competition out there and it’s never just about numbers.....  full marks for lack of hubris though!

10 September 2020

Now we're talking - this looks like the real deal. Always been put off Tesla by their weirdly 90s design and piss-poor interior quality. 

This, on the other hand, is elegant but not traditional. Interior quality remains an unknown. 

Bit annoying to quote the US price in £, guaranteed that'll be +20% by the time we see them.

10 September 2020
I think this car looks so modern that it dates all its rivals. Brilliant design.
Good job guys!

11 September 2020
michael knight wrote:

Bit annoying to quote the US price in £, guaranteed that'll be +20% by the time we see them.

The 'rip-off Britain' thing is nothing new, sadly, but does anyone have a definitive explanation for the discrepancy in US/UK car pricing?

10 September 2020
My opinion, the Air feels just as impressive and groundbreaking as the Model S did at launch (8 years ago - Tesla should probably get a move on refreshing or replacing it). Good looking design, even better looking stats. I hope it does well, and spearheads the installation of faster charging units.

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