That is half three of 4 in our collection testing the Lucid Air Touring, the brand new ‘midrange’ luxurious EV from Lucid Motors. Observe the protection right here.
If there was one level on my journey that had the Lucid Motors staff involved, it was Donner Move. The steepest and snowiest space on California’s Interstate 80 – certainly, one of many snowiest factors within the decrease 48, with a mean 411 inches of snow per 12 months — Donner calls for a toll of respect from all who traverse it.
It is not simply the chilly reminiscence of the Donner Social gathering(Opens in a brand new tab), that notorious group of westward settlers who acquired caught right here in 1846, misplaced half their crew, and needed to resort to cannibalism. These winters you are extra more likely to get caught in an hours-long line ready for the California Freeway Patrol to verify whether or not you want snow chains in your tires.
The Lucid Air is all-wheel drive and thus exempt from that requirement, although I wasn’t trying ahead to convincing CHP that this uncommon low-riding luxurious sedan was extra hardy than it might seem.
Not for the faint of coronary heart: Donner move in 1878, when the Transcontinental Railroad needed to construct ‘snow sheds’
Credit score: Smith Assortment/Gado
The Lucid staff, in the meantime, prompt I’d wish to swap out the common tires for one thing grippier — which I might theoretically do through the corporate’s cellular service van program, Lucid Care(Opens in a brand new tab).
Because it turned out, Donner Move was vibrant and clear, if effectively beneath freezing, once I traversed it. CHP was nowhere to be discovered. There was nonetheless loads of snow and ice on the highway, and deep drifts round it, however the common tires by no means felt something lower than extremely secure.
The Lucid Air stored the highway in a bear hug round all method of curves. Solely as soon as did it skid, for just a few seconds. (Keep in mind youngsters, by no means break throughout a skid(Opens in a brand new tab).)
As I drove up and down and round winding roads to Truckee and Lake Tahoe, the largest hazard had nothing to do with the automotive’s dealing with or conserving its cost within the freezing chilly. I might gotten used to the regenerative braking by now, and had nice enjoyable seeing if I might maintain the automotive’s cost degree simply above 50 p.c through the downhill slopes.
The Lucid Air Touring check: 10 days within the newest luxurious EV
No, the largest hazard to this driver was the Lucid Air’s huge windshield, which wraps up and round and makes you’re feeling such as you’re in a Jetsons bubble automotive.
Usually there’s not so much to have a look at up there, however right here I used to be passing by a forest of tall pines dusted with what appeared like cake frosting in opposition to a cerulean blue sky. Who wouldn’t be distracted from the highway by that wonderful sight?
I used to be reminded that the Touring’s commonplace choice(Opens in a brand new tab) provides it an everyday aluminum roof (the glass cover is $4,500 further). Not solely would that be much less distracting, it will additionally — given how chilly the glass bubble was to the contact — most likely take so much much less power to warmth.
Talking of heat, the Lucid’s sectionally-heated seats and heated steering wheel (each accessible through the middle pill) had been a comfortable delight.
They put as many smiles on my face as the new candy rum drink I had by the shores of Tahoe, and helped banish the unhealthy reminiscence of my older electrical automotive methods failing on this winter wonderland.
The attention-catching Lucid Air exterior — and nervous, glitchy Lucid Air inside
The Tahoe journey had one different benefit once I returned to Nevada Metropolis: a layer of snow grime gave the automotive some camouflage. It was barely unnerving what number of pedestrians cease and stare when the Lucid rolls by, particularly when the “Clever Micro Lens Array” LED strip on the entrance — no mere headlights for the Lucid Air! – is on.
The “Quantum Grey” colour mannequin I used to be testing appears fairly incognito when parked, at the very least; I acquired extra feedback on its Florida license plate, which is one thing Californians can not help however discover, than the design itself.
My concern of the automotive being a goal for thieves could have been unfounded, however that did not cease the automotive itself from sounding prefer it had a nasty case of tension. For starters, the Lucid Air will beep at you the second you get within the driver’s seat as a result of you have not put your seatbelt on but: I took to responding “OK, mother, I am doing it!”
The Lucid Air Touring check: How I sapped the electrical automobile’s 425-mile vary
The home the place I used to be staying had a reasonably steep driveway, which the Lucid’s low-slung cameras learn as a highway obstruction when driving down it. I additionally encountered a glitch regularly described by different drivers: the Lucid Air often sees lane dividers as an obstruction too.
Oh no, it is the Lucid Air blue display screen of dying!
Credit score: Chris Taylor / Mashable
Talking of software program glitches, this was the day I encountered the Lucid Air at its worst. Usually when reversing, the rear view reveals up on the dashboard display screen, and the middle pill fills with “encompass view” – a intelligent pc building that reveals what the automotive appears like from above, and allows you to zoom round it in 3D.
Now, each screens had been clean with a spinning wheel — the Lucid equal of the blue display screen of dying.
It is hardly the worst glitch on the planet; I might nonetheless look over my shoulder, in spite of everything. I did not encounter it once more after an over-the-air software program replace downloaded that night.
Nonetheless, the occasional feeling that you just’re driving a $109,000 beta product is not precisely encouraging.
The aerodynamic Lucid bubble and mediocre mapping
Lucid Air fail: The navigation system wished to guide me down a closed highway clearly marked ‘personal’.
Credit score: Chris Taylor / Mashable
Again within the Bay Space, the worst of the winter storms had handed, however the wind was nonetheless off-the-charts insane. I didn’t understand this, nevertheless, till I used to be ready at an intersection and noticed bushes bending and leaves scurrying horizontally throughout my sight view.
I am used to vehicles that may rock at the very least a tiny bit in sturdy winds, so it was a bit unnerving that the Lucid Air did not budge within the slightest. Its supremely aerodynamic design would not simply let air circulation from the entrance to the again to offer you a smoother experience, it really works aspect to aspect too.
The sensation of being in a bubble, untouched by the skin world, was full.
Sadly, the actual world is not going to at all times conform to the Lucid Air’s inferior navigation system. The corporate makes use of Right here Maps quite than Google Maps(Opens in a brand new tab) information, a indisputable fact that infuriates drivers on Lucid boards(Opens in a brand new tab).
It isn’t simply that the visitors information hundreds so slowly that you just’re often dedicated to a route earlier than you already know all of the choices. It is that Right here maps typically appear woefully outdated and confused about highway entry.
I counted thrice when the Lucid tried to ship me the incorrect method down a one-way avenue, and as soon as — heading to a trailhead simply exterior of Berkeley — the place it tried to divert me by a collection of personal roads, one in every of which was chained off.
The automotive’s sense of privilege ran headlong into actuality. Lucid Motors hasn’t stated when CarPlay or Android Auto are coming to the lineup. However given the crying want for Google Maps and extra nuanced instructions, it could actually’t be quickly sufficient.
Half 4, which covers total impressions, will publish Saturday, Feb. 18. Observe the protection right here.