While the Lucid Air is a very cool electric luxury sedan, luxury sedans can’t hold a candle to luxury SUVs in terms of sales. Sure, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is an evergreen symbol of wealth, but the fact is that the areally rich have stopped bothering with the impracticalities of sedans. From mail-slot trunk openings that make loading items difficult to low seat heights that put strain on worn hips, those who’ve made their money in life are increasingly turning towards SUVs and crossovers. So, here’s the Lucid Gravity, an electric SUV aiming directly for the Tesla Model X.
Compared to the artfully streamlined Air sedan, the Gravity looks imposingly square, almost like someone epoxy glued a massive set of alloy wheels to an apartment building. Familiar cues like the blade-style fascia applique are here, but there’s just so much sheet metal. It’s fairly common for electric SUVs to feature low, short hoods and sloping rooflines, but the Gravity appears to reject this school of thought completely, with a silhouette more in line with that of the Rivian R1S. However, according to a media release statement by Derek Jenkins, Lucid Group’s Senior Vice President of design, there’s a chance that the Gravity isn’t as massive as its styling suggests.
“It is both a supercar in disguise and an SUV with flexible passenger and cargo space that seems impossibly big relative to the exterior size of the vehicle. And it does this all with Lucid’s distinctive post-luxury design, inspired by California.”
That quote implies that the Gravity is more of a midsize SUV in footprint, and that there’s something after luxury that isn’t poverty or death. Post-luxury is certainly a marketing buzzword, but it doesn’t seem like a very good one.
Moving to the inside of the Gravity, it’s quite obvious that Lucid’s keeping its next-generation infotainment system a secret for now, as the clearest shot we have is of the rear seats. For anyone who thought of the Toyota Sienna while looking at these footrest-equipped second-row dad chairs, you get a gold star. Lucid says that the Gravity will be available with five, six, or seven seats, which almost certainly means that the third row only has two seat belts.
As for interior bits surrounding those seats, it doesn’t seem like there’s much in the way of headliner material. Sure, the B-pillars look to be the size of Roman columns, but the massive glass roof offers quite the effect. Intriguingly, the front panel is split by a plastic spar, which when combined with the massive B-pillars and roof member, gives the front roof section a T-top look from the inside. Mullet and Def Leppard cassette not included, presumably.
Lucid’s not letting the public know much about what lies underneath the Gravity, but the firm promises “supercar levels of performance” and more range than any electric SUV out there. If the Tesla Model X Plaid is the one to beat, expect a high-performance Sapphire version of the Gravity to ripple tarmac and mash backpacks into the rear window. From Lucid:
More aerodynamic than any SUV the world has ever seen, Gravity distances itself from the competition with a previously unattainable combination of supercar performance and seating for up to seven adults. Lucid Gravity also promises more range than any other EV on the market – other than its stablemate, Lucid Air.
A vehicle with “supercar performance” that can seat seven? Time to hand in the keys to both your Chrysler Pacifica and McLaren 720S; you may even make money on this!
Expect a full reveal of the Lucid Gravity in early 2023. Reservation banks are expected to open at that point, but deliveries aren’t expected to start until 2024. That may seem like a very long lead time, but it’s not unusual given the current car market. Even though Lucid’s entering the SUV market at a time of stiff competition, consumer appetite should be strong enough to make the Gravity a cash machine for the small automaker.
All photos courtesy of Lucid Motors
What’s with the bear?
Designed in California, my best guess.
I can’t wait to buy my wife some of that lovely Lucid perfume.
What do you mean, that was a car commercial?
I can’t wait to buy my wide some of that lovely Lucid perfume.
What do you mean, that was a car commercial?
*wife. Damn you auto current
Supercar performance in something that weighs 5500lbs? What could possibly go wrong?
I will also cosign on higher floor and no sliding doors being no minivan replacement.
If there isn’t an easy way to get to the third row it isn’t replacing our Pacifica
The super long rear lip spoiler may be great aero, but it adds a certain JC Whitney catalog vibe to the car’s silhouette.
I can’t really decide what the vibe is on Lucid. They’re not expensive enough to be remembered as a new Duesenberg type manufacturer if they flame out in a hard economic downturn in a couple years, but they’re also not in a position to pivot and weather such a storm.
I really wonder about Lucid.
I think i’ve heard they have good funding ,and they’re aiming for a semi-empty market segment, which is good.But is there enough sales in that segment to survive?
“Postmodern” is one thing that, while pretentious sounding, does well to describe the ongoing disillusionment and rejection of the ‘Modernist’ ideologies set into motion over half a century ago. In that vein, wouldn’t “Post-luxury” imply that you’re sitting in a pit of cheap rubber and neoprene? Doesn’t Tesla already have that market cornered?
Considering how terrible the aerodynamics of most SUVs and crossovers are, for Lucid to get the best range for any electric vehicle in this segment, would be picking low-hanging fruit.
Consider the Mercedes Bionic hatchback concept from 2005. It had a drag coefficient of 0.19. An SUV/CUV could use the same shape with increased ground clearance, and remain very practical. I would not be surprised if the Cd value of this Lucid Gravity SUV ends up similar to that of Lucid’s Air sedan.
Had the Big 3 made their giant SUVs of the 1990s and early 2000s have this sort of Cd value, they could have been getting 25+ mpg combined and 35+ mpg hwy with no other changes. This sort of streamlining would have also opened the door to 45+ mpg combined 60+ mpg hwy non-hybrid sedans. The tech to allow this sort of slipperiness is nearly a century old now. Note the 1935 Tatra T77A with its 0.21 drag coefficient, the same value as the Lucid Air sedan.
Yeah, screw planned obsolescence, nice and hard with a railroad spike.
Just a minor quibble – increased ground clearance means increased form drag. Also, while drag coefficients matter, a smaller vehicle with the same drag coefficient will fare better than a larger one with the same drag coefficient. I agree that in general that we should be using more aerodynamic shapes, but tall vehicles with decent ground clearance are never going to be as efficient as something slung low with a smaller frontal area. Having said that, since most people insist on buying SUVs for their daily commuters, we might as well make them as aerodynamic as they can be. Something to adjust ride height (bags/pneumatics come to mind) could help on this front. Keep it lifted before getting in/out for the old folks, and when you bring it somewhere with terrible roads (or occasionally off) and drop it down the rest of the time..
All understood. Increasing the ground clearance can greatly increase drag coefficient. You have more air getting under the vehicle which can cause more turbulence(increasing the necessity of a smooth underbody) and larger wheels also greatly increases the airflow disturbance.
Even still, low 0.2X values are possible with SUV shapes.
And yes, frontal area is the other component of the drag equation.
While the product looks right on target, I thought the video was pretty awful. Dropping a random woman in a scaly dress slowly from the sky just doesn’t pique my interest. It didn’t even feel like a tease.
Even in these incomplete previews, this looks much better than either of Tesla’s “bloated sedan style” SUVs. It will fit the category much better, and I expect it will sell out very quickly.
Hopefully they are able to move much faster into production than Tesla did with the Model X and Y.
Tesla’s biggest mistakes were emphasizing sedans over SUVs, and making their SUVs look too much like sedans. (Tesla should release a third line of each size vehicle, with full SUV profile and styling, but that would probably kill off the existing X and Y and maybe hurt Elon’s feelings.)
Sedans get better drag coefficients than SUVs. They also have smaller frontal areas, and with less ground clearance (though that part isn’t always true) they tend to have less form drag.
One of the main fears people express over electric vehicles is range anxiety. If you want longer range, you want better aerodynamics. Take the Ioniq 5 vs Ioniq 6 – going from a crossover to a sedan with the same drivetrain increased range by ~27%.
And, for the record, fuck Elon Musk. I’ll buy an EV someday, and it sure as shit won’t be a Tesla. Until recently, they were one of the few companies to offer an EV in a generally aerodynamic shape, but the touch screen obsession and Elon’s generally asshattery repelled me. The years of pedantic and obnoxious behavior sealed the deal.
Longer range isn’t always aerodynamics. It can also be “bigger battery”. Create a vehicle that will sell, then add keep adding battery until it has the required range. Sure, it would take more in batteries to accomplish, but in today’s market I think the added costs would be covered, easily.
Tesla’s current SUVs would be form factor limited, if there were enough electric SUVs on the market. If they were shaped according to “ordinary SUV” expectations, they’d command an even greater premium.
Yes, fuck Elon Musk. At this point, Tesla and SpaceX succeed in spite of him, not because of him.
If it wasn’t for Tesla, I’m doubtful we’d have EVs available at all from any mainstream manufacturer, because Tesla started building cars in the 2010s with range figures that GM/Ford/Honda, and their ilk could have been building in the 1990s.
Not a fan of all the loaded tech in the Teslas, or of Musk’s antics, but I’ll readily admit that unlike everyone else, with the Tesla Model S and later Model 3, at least aerodynamics weren’t completely an afterthought. I’d gladly work for Tesla if given the chance, simply because I want to work on EVs for a living.
Tesla doesn’t really have a SUV, they have sedans and Prius (I dont know the plural of Prius). I think they’ve done a great job convincing people they’re not buying husky, all electric Prius.
With the latest Prius, I think the best looking Prius are:
Tesla Model X
Tesla model Y
Gen 3 Prius
Gen 4 Prius
Gen 2 Prius
Gen 1 Prius