It has been greater than a decade since Tesla proved that it is potential to start out a brand new American automaker—and even grow to be worthwhile. Its success has sparked a wave of subsequent EV startups, every with a mission to decarbonize our transportation sector. However that was a troublesome prospect even earlier than 2020 introduced its personal taste of disruption to this nascent trade.
Of these upstarts, Rivian and Lucid have made it into manufacturing due to massive investments. Rivian is busy constructing EV pickups and SUVs aimed toward these with an prosperous outdoorsy life-style, plus 100,000 electrical supply vans for Amazon. Lucid is additional behind, but it surely too has gone into manufacturing with the Lucid Air, a good-looking luxurious sedan with a tiny drag coefficient, oodles of energy and torque, and a reasonably hefty price ticket—the Air Grand Touring we examined begins at $138,000.
Ars first met the Lucid Air in 2017 when the corporate introduced one in every of its alpha prototypes to Washington, DC, to indicate off to lawmakers. In 2021, we went for a trip within the passenger seat, however now we have had some precise seat time on this intriguing EV.
Geared toward Stuttgart, not Austin
Previously, Lucid CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson was adamant that his goal with the Air was not the Tesla Mannequin S—a automobile for which Rawlinson labored as chief engineer—however the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a car thought of all through the trade to be the gold commonplace for luxurious sedans. Within the course of, nonetheless, Lucid has out-Tesla’d Tesla anyway, evolving and sharpening most of the concepts we have seen pioneered in that automobile when it was new.
It is fairly brief for an enormous luxurious automobile; at 195.9 inches (4,966 mm), it is a foot shorter than the present S-Class and much more so in comparison with BMW’s large new i7. Maybe coincidentally, it is precisely as lengthy and has the identical 116.5-inch (2,959 mm) wheelbase because the Mannequin S. However at 76.2 inches (1,935 mm) large, it is narrower than any of its opponents. I needed to do a double-take once I noticed that determine, because the automobile feels large from the driving force’s seat; Lucid has succeeded in making a TARDIS-like cabin that feels greater than the automobile seems on the skin.
It is also shorter than something you would possibly cross-shop—not fairly Ford GT40 low, however at 55.4 inches (1,407), you possibly can see how Lucid has pursued vary effectivity by minimizing the automobile’s frontal space. After all, frontal space is only one variable; the opposite is the drag coefficient, which within the case of the Air was a surprising 0.21 however is now an astonishing 0.197 following some enhancements Lucid made in 2022.
About 60 p.c of an EV’s vitality is spent combating air resistance at freeway speeds, so you possibly can perceive why Lucid has gone to that effort. The low-drag design is coupled to a big lithium-ion traction battery—within the case of the Air Grand Touring, 112 kWh is useable—which interprets to some extraordinary vary estimates. Fitted with 19-inch wheels, the Air Grand Touring is able to 516 miles (830 km) on a single cost, says the EPA.
As is often the case, our check automobile was fitted with 21-inch wheels (a $2,000 possibility) with Pirelli P Zero efficiency tires as a substitute of extra environment friendly 19-inch wheels. That cuts 47 miles (76 km) of vary within the course of, however 469 miles (755 km) on a single cost makes this EV an excellent companion for lengthy drives.