The Lucid Air might just be the hottest luxury sedan of the moment. Sure, the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class looks brilliant and the new BMW 7-Series offers a smorgasbord of tech, but the Air is desired by young, upstart, Silicon Valley types because it is a young, upstart Silicon Valley Type. And now there are cheaper models for folks outside of that world of URLs ending in .io and budgets over $150,000 to spend on a car. If you’ve got well-equipped 5-Series money rather than well-equipped S-Class money, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Lucid recently unveiled two cheaper Lucid Air trims that are going on sale soon.
The specs and backstory of the Lucid Air read like something out of a dream. It’s a second shot at a high-end electric luxury sedan by Peter Rawlinson, the former Chief Engineer of Lotus who went on to be the Vehicle Engineer for Tesla’s Model S. It packs a high-voltage electrical architecture capable of accepting more than 900 volts, Dolby Atmos audio, a posher cabin than the Tesla Model S, more than 500 miles of range when properly equipped, and north of 1,000 horsepower in performance trims. No matter where you stand in the automotive kingdom, at least one of those features should draw your attention; it’s no wonder it won Motor Trend Car of The Year.
Still, as cool as it is, it’s expensive as hell, though now that price is moving towards “expensive as purgatory” thanks to some cheaper trims like “Pure.” Let’s look at that.
There’s a lot of stuff the Pure doesn’t actually get. No glass roof, no real leather upholstery, no standard top-end audio, no extended-range battery pack, and eventually no standard all-wheel-drive. However, Despite being the baby of the Air range, the Pure can still charge at 250 kW, run a manufacturer-claimed zero-to-sixty time of 3.8 seconds when ordered with all-wheel-drive, and go an estimated 410 miles on a charge of its 88 kWh battery pack when ordered with the 19-inch wheels.
Plus, ditching such fanciful features has allowed Lucid to drop the price of the Air Pure all the way down to $87,400, although there’s a bit of an asterisk on that price. More on that later. Truthfully, I’d love to try a slicktop rear-wheel-drive Lucid Air as it might live up to its name and be the purest sports sedan Lucid offers.
Next up the range, it’s the Touring. Packing 620 horsepower and a claimed zero-to-sixty time of 3.4 seconds, it’s the M550i of the Lucid Air range. However, just because it offers a big jump in power over the base Pure model doesn’t mean it comes at the expense of efficiency. In fact, the Touring is supposedly the most efficient Air yet, promising EPA estimated efficiency of 4.62 miles per kWh. That doesn’t sound like a great figure if you’re used to miles per gallon or rods to the hogshead, but it’s actually very impressive. For context, the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ should return around 3.24 mi/kWh, while the Taycan 4S with the big battery achieves around 2.71 mi/kWh.
The Touring also gets loads more toys than the Pure. The fake leather gets swapped out for real leather, all-wheel-drive is standard, and a glass roof is an optional extra. However, the Touring still gets the same small battery pack as the Pure and features a fairly large price jump from the Pure model. At $107,400, it’s $20,000 more than the base trim. For context, the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ starts at $103,360 including a $1,050 freight charge, while the Porsche Taycan 4S starts at $107,950 including a freight charge of $1,450. Frustratingly, Lucid hasn’t provided freight charges for the Air Pure and Air Touring, so it’s hard to give an apples-to-apples comparison on price.
While it’s taken a while for Lucid to really hit its stride, these cheaper versions of the Air should broaden the appeal of the startup’s first car. Production starts this month for the Touring and December for the dual-motor Pure model, with the single-motor Pure model arriving at some point in 2023. Needless to say, expect to see a lot more Airs on the road once deliveries of these cheaper models start happening.
All photos courtesy of Lucid
The Pure sounds fantastic. Drop a bunch of luxury crap you don’t need and knock 10’s of thousands off the price? Sure.
But gah, that touchscreen center stack. Why do EVs have to be such usability nightmares?
It’s nice that they’re finally making the glass roof an option rather than mandatory. I think the full glass roof pisses me off more than just about any other new “innovation” short of mandatory touch screen controls.
I don’t care what fancy IR coatings are put on it, it will run hotter in the heat, and colder in the cold, than a metal roof, that’s just physics.
I don’t care how tough you make it, the second it gets hit by something that would merely dent a metal roof, it will break the glass, that’s just physics.
I don’t care how strong your side rails are, the lack of a shear-carrying web on top of the car has reduced it’s strength and crash energy absorption capability, that’s just physics.
Glass roofed cars suck. Some people like them. I hate them, and would love to be able to never had one in my car.
Also is the issue of added mass with a glass roof. I’m not a fan either.
So I realize my Bolt is not anywhere near the level of the Merc, Porsche, or Lucid when it comes to performance and luxury, but I consistently get 4.1 miles per kWh. Despite not being a performance-focused car, the throttle doesn’t exactly encourage you *not* to stomp on it coming off a red light, so if I were able to restrain myself a bit more, I bet I’d be getting closer to Lucid Air numbers. 4.62 is definitely an achievement with a car as heavy as the Air is, but it’s kind of embarrassing how low the efficiency of the other luxury makes is!
I really hate how automakers program their accelerators to deliver 75% of power with the pedal 15% down. It gives the car the illusion of being more powerful than it actually is, while making it more difficult to control the throttle. So damned stupid. The “all sizzle-no steak” style over substance design philosophy ubiquitous in the industry pervades even the “halo” fuel misers on offer, when those who buy those cars generally are interested in the actual substance, and not the style.
If the Bolt had the aerodynamic drag of the 2000 GM Precept, it would get 50% extra range on the same battery pack, or the same range on 2/3 the battery pack.
An electric sedan or hatchback SHOULD be getting at least 6-7 miles per kWh. The 1996 Solectria Sunrise could do it, thanks to its 0.17 drag coefficient. But efficiency, in spite of the technology available, is still mostly an afterthought. Efficiency is also necessary to reduce the cost of building an EV with a given amount of range, and it is clear that the mainstream auto industry is not currently interested in inexpensive long-range EVs for the masses, or we’d have had them 25 years ago when the technology began to be viable.
The wheels that twist towards the rear on the drivers side, and twist towards the front on the passenger would be a deal breaker for me. I can not stand that and it would drive me insane every day I had to look at it. For $100k, they need to equip this thing with side-specific wheels.
I feel this would backfire with all of the worst ideas you don’t want….
Allow me to introduce the Lucid Spirit (Airlines) version!
Same range, but straw-based material replacing the pleather, welded trunk, hay bail back seat (optional), and range over 60-miles is a subscription-based service (lower rates if you sign up to be an UberEATS driver for 2-years).
Figured the Lucid Spirit (Airlines) version would have the trunk open only when you paid a subscription for it. Profit! 😉
I’d love to be wrong but I don’t think they are going to survive. They are building a factory from scratch. Even EV companies that buy existing facilities with huge tax breaks have gone bust. Tesla used a former GM/Toyota plant. I don’t think investors are that hyped on Lucid either so they don’t have Tesla investor money they can light on fire to rapidly fix problems. Launching an EV sedan would be awesome in 2012. I watched some Youtube detailer and Lucid paint is unacceptably poor quality so their cars aren’t perfect like automotive journalists make them out to be.
They have Saudi sovereign petrobucks behind them, they will do fine.
The only issue with these, and I’ve sat in one and they are really nice, is you have to rely on third party charging if you’re going on a long trip. That’s the mic drop for Tesla.
They should texture that charging port.
When the charging port door is the slightest bit open or closed too much (which it always is) the reflection of light makes it stand out. Sometimes it even looks like it was painted a different color.
Kinda hate the flat bottom steering wheel, but it should still be OK. (Since they went to a yoke, I’m not even fantasizing about a Tesla anymore.)
Flat bottom wheels make the rockin’ world go round. I have had 2 cars with flat bottom steering wheels (Jetta GLI and Subie WRX) and it isn’t an issue for usability. You get used to it to the point wheer circular wheels seem odd.
Flat bottomed wheels aren’t actually bad in practice – the wheel is still where you expect it to be, and since there’s typically a spoke there it’s one of the less used spots to grab. They’re also nice for getting in and out.
The yoke is an ergonomic disaster.
I have seen two in the wild. One in San Diego when at a recent conference, and the other locally here a bit north of San Antonio, TX. Just gorgeous in person and look really well made, especially when compared to a Tesla.
When i’m ready to go full electric, some form of Lucid will be on the short list.
Considering how big and heavy this car is, the Lucid Air’s efficiency is impressive. It weighs nearly twice as much as a Nissan Leaf but still uses significantly less energy. That is the impact of aerodynamic drag reduction for you! Drag coefficient of the Lucid Air is 0.21. The average new car is somewhere around 0.28. Figures around 0.15 are possible for a sedan without the consumer giving up much of anything. Although if one is willing to go full-retard and compromising looks but still without compromising practicality(keeping in mind requirements for ground clearance, windshield glare, passenger/cargo packaging, ect), getting a figure approaching 0.11 in a sedan is possible with sacrifice.
My Milan SL velomobile has a 0.08 Cd, and if I had the money, I’d LOVE to scale that thing up into a two-seater four-wheeled sports car. Just imagine the possibilities: 1.9L VW TDI engine getting 100+ mpg in a vehicle that can do 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds and top 200 mph… Or if performance isn’t the goal, a 660cc turbodiesel would be plenty, allowing 120+ mph top speed and returning 200+ mpg. Or if performance is the goal, maybe an ultralight EV that weighs under 800 lbs, using an ebike hub motor and controller in each wheel putting out a combined total of around 200 horses peak, that with a tiny 20 kWh battery pack, can get 300+ miles range real-world driving doing 80+ mph on the freeway, 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds, and could be geared for a maximum continuous top speed of 160+ mph and get an honest 80-100 miles of range at the racetrack.
Aero, Aptera says hold my beer.
Indeed. The Aptera goes about 2x farther on 1 kWh than the Lucid Air. It also as roughly half the mass and half the drag.
Would love to see an even further cut down model, like a true base of this car would be great for the higher end “larger car” market like Lexus or Genesis.
I feel like if I am in the market for an $88k car, I’m not *out* of the six-figure market. Will they really sell that many?
I don’t think currently they can make that many anyways (3 – 4 digits) so the models with the highest margins .
A link about the factory
Yes, low production volume is the largest determinant of the car’s cost. This is why Tesla started out catering to the luxury market. Economies of scale brings the car’s manufacturing cost closer to its raw material cost, but if the cars are hand built or almost hand-built, they’re going to cost exorbitantly in labor.
This is why the onus should be on the major automakers to get a low-cost long-range EV to market. But clearly they aren’t all that interested in that. It took Martin Eberhard and Elon Musk to get the electric car genie out of the bottle, and now the rest of the automakers have been scrambling to catch up, when we could have had 150-200+ mile range affordable EVs in the 1990s with the tech available at the time if the biggest automakers truly were interested. James Worden had a 150-200+ mile range compact sedan called the Solectria Sunrise that could have sold at $20,000 in mass production, in 1996, and none of the major automakers were interested in doing anything with it other than trying to buy it up and shelve the technology. It only needed a 28 kWh pack to get that kind of range in real-world conditions, but if hypermiled, it set a range record at the time of 373 miles in the Tour De Sol and was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.
From an efficiency perspective, the Sunrise makes the Lucid Air look like an absolute pig. Which is really a shame, considering the battery technology we have available today is about a 4-fold improvement over what we had in the 1990s when it comes to specific capacity. But the Air is meant to be a luxury car and the Sunrise meant to be something your average person could afford, so it is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison.
considering the average car price these days is north of 40K, anything under 100K is getting closer to the quick slope part of the curve.
Just roll the price of the destination/freight charge into the price of the car. No one is negotiating it off of the price, nor deciding what car to buy based on it. Doesn’t need to be there.
Yep, and even worse, look at a GMC or Buick sticker now. It lists the mandatory $1500 fee for 3-years of Onstar as an optional feature, even though it’s mandatory and you can’t order one without it. $46.66 a month, and full of worthless features that most will never use. We’ve had Buick or GMC vehicles for our last 4 family-hauler SUV’s and it’s not even in consideration for our next one because of this fee.
If you want a nice car instead of a fashion statement, the Pure is perfect…
Well, except for costing 50% more than the average US annual income.