Oh lovely, another expensive electric luxury SUV that can keep up with a McLaren SLR to 60 mph and drain around $80,000 from your checkbook. With every automaker chasing high-margin EVs to fund cheaper stuff, reports of EVs languishing on dealer lots, and a period of expensive credit locked in, now might not be the best time for the Lucid Gravity, the latest electric luxury SUV, to launch. That’s a shame, because there really is some interesting stuff going on under the skin of this posh family hauler.
On first glance, the Lucid Gravity looks exactly how you’d expect if you’ve ever seen a Lucid Air. We’re talking about a prominent brow, contrasting roof rails, just the faintest semblance of grillework, and clean surfacing. Mind you, stretching Lucid Air styling language over a three-row crossover form has also resulted in something that looks like a big Volkswagen ID.4, which is a little awkward for, in Lucid’s words, “under $80,000.” At the same time, the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV looks like a pound cake and the Tesla Model X looks like a suppository, so the Lucid Gravity may still be the leader of the pack.
As you’d probably expect, the Gravity’s real party is going on inside, with a massive 34-inch curved OLED screen capable of providing information overload. A satellite screen beneath works vital media and climate controls, while rear seat passengers are treated to their own multifunction display. Unlike in the Lucid Air, the upholstery color in the Gravity carries through all zones of the interior, with neither the first row nor the second row feeling shortchanged. As novel as flashy tech is, luxury lies in detail and craftsmanship, and the cabin of the Lucid Gravity looks as good as anything in the segment.
Diving beneath the skin, the Lucid Gravity should offer 440 miles of range, although Lucid hasn’t stated a battery pack capacity yet. Unsurprisingly, expect this family hauler to be diaper-soilingly quick, with a quoted zero-to-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. More importantly, Lucid quotes 6,000 pounds of towing capacity and a 1,500 pound payload capacity, relevant figures for all manner of family things.
While Lucid seemed to be a CCS holdout mere weeks ago, the company has recently announced that its future EVs will be able to use Tesla’s Supercharger DC fast charging network starting in 2025, by way of an adapter. Why an adapter? Well, the landscape of 350 kW CCS fast chargers may soon be a largely Lucid-specific haven. With most major automakers switching to Tesla’s NACS connector come 2024, I can see fewer and fewer drivers of cars that can’t take full advantage of 350 kW chargers making the decision to trade reliability for sheer speed. Since the Lucid Gravity uses an architecture good for north of 900 volts, it should see the same 300 kW peak DC fast charging speed as its Air sibling. At the moment, Tesla’s V3 Superchargers top out at 250 kW, so the theoretical advantage goes to 350 kW CCS chargers. Of course, once the V4 Superchargers come out, the winner is anyone’s guess.
Astonishingly, the Gravity doesn’t share a platform with the Lucid Air sedan, instead riding on its own unique chassis that must’ve cost a fortune to develop. Even BMW uses the same platform for the i7 and iX, but it’s possible that Lucid’s just setting the stage for a whole lineup of crossovers. After all, small automakers typically can’t afford to go bespoke every time, and parts bin sharing could shoulder some costs. Needless to say, Lucid’s long-term game could be intriguing.
With the introduction of the Gravity, Lucid feels even more like a do-over of Tesla with better ideas and leadership. The trouble is, market conditions for pricey electric vehicles aren’t exactly set in stone. Plus, the Lucid Air thrives because most electric luxury sedans have, well, deficiencies. The Porsche Taycan has the space efficiency of a fourth-generation Camaro. The Tesla Model S looks and feels more than a decade old. The Mercedes-Benz EQS is the third-best Dodge Intrepid ever made. The Cadillac Celestiq is cool but not even in the same league on pricing.
Meanwhile, the market for electric luxury crossovers is starting to boom. The Rivian R1S looks awesome and has proper off-road chops. The upcoming Volvo EX90 is incredibly promising, with a uniquely Swedish twist on things. The BMW iX may be hideous and only a two-row crossover, but the interior is phenomenal and the fundamentals are there. The Cadillac Escalade IQ redefines ridiculousness. Mainstream automakers are throwing serious money at these high-margin products, so the bar is much higher than in the sedan segment. As a result of this mainstream competition, crossover customers may view small carmaker weirdness less charitably than the handful of nerds who want the ultimate electric supersedan.
The Lucid Gravity is full of good ideas, but in a tumultuous time for expensive vehicles and amid hot competition, we’ll just have to wait and see if the Gravity itself is a good idea. Then again, with the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia holding a majority stake in the automaker, something tells me Lucid can afford to focus on the flagships. Either way, expect deliveries of the Lucid Gravity to start in late 2024.
(Photo credits: Lucid Motors)
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