Coinciding with the World E-mobility Day on September 9th, 2020, the Californian electric automotive start-up Lucid Motors officially presented its first production vehicle, the Lucid Air. Led by CEO Peter Rawlinson and his executive team, the presentation covered the company’s history, performance data, design philosophy, manufacturing and insights into the future.
Series production at the Casa Grande factory in Arizona is scheduled to start in spring 2021. Peter Hochholdinger, who had previously been head of production at Audi and Tesla, reported on the special features of the factory, which is being built on a greenfield site – in other words, in the middle of a brown desert – and will allow for an expansion by a factor of ten once the first phase of the production halls has been completed, including the paint shop. There is already a ten-year plan for the factory extension. A separate part of the factory is the drive train production.
The first available vehicle will be the limited version of the Lucid Air Dream, prices at for 169,000 US dollars. This will be followed in 2022 by the Lucid Air Grand Touring, which will be available from 95,000 US dollars. Orders can be placed on the website, which is now unlocked and took suggestions from video games. Customers can take the online configuration of the vehicle to Lucid Studios and then experience it virtually. The first Lucid Studio is scheduled to open outside the Newark headquarters in Beverly Hills.
The vehicle’s performance data is impressive at over 1,000 horsepower, with an estimated official EPA range of 827 kilometers (517 miles). Lucid also claims 15 percent more efficiency than its nearest competitor, both in terms of electric motor and battery power. The electric motor is extremely compact and, with a weight of 73 kilograms and 760 horsepower, is almost three times more efficient than the next competitor. The compactness of the electric motor allows Lucid to install up to three of them in the sedan, with corresponding power.
The vehicle manages a quarter mile in 9.9 seconds, from 0 to 60 miles per hour (0 – 96 km/h) in 2.5 seconds.
Batteries & Charging
The big surprise are the batteries. It was known that Lucids batteries are already used in Formula E in all 24 cars and can cover the entire race distance with just one charge. But so far there has not been a single battery failure in several racing seasons. However, the battery cells are housed in modules that can be plugged together like Lego bricks and the entire battery architecture is designed for bi-directional charging. One Lucid Air can use it to charge another Lucid Air or supply its own house with electricity in the event of a power failure. The 924 Volt batteries, the Battery Monitoring System (BMS), the compact thermal management make the batteries a powerful component of the vehicle. This is all made possible by a central control unit, the so-called ‘wonder box’.
Incidentally, the underside of the battery pack on the vehicle is slightly curved, which improves aerodynamics and thus reduces energy consumption. The drag coefficient cw is 0.21, the smallest value for a production vehicle.
Lucid is partnering with Volkswagens Electrify America and allows the highest level 3 fast charging standard, similar to the Tesla Supercharger.
Design & Electronics
Alls Californian company Lucid uses colors and light from the state. Different places like Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, Tahoe and Mojave Desert and their colors and light at certain times of the day serve as inspiration for the interior.
The vehicle is operated via a 5K floating display and a central console, which also hides storage space. Inductive chargers for smartphones are integrated in the center console, and 28 speakers with 800 watts of power provide the appropriate hi-fi sound inside the car. It can also be opened and monitored using a smartphone app.
Certain elements in the vehicle can also be controlled by speech recognition thanks to integrated Alexa. The interior camera can also identify the driver through face recognition and set the settings automatically. A total of 32 sensors for the DreamDrive driver assistance system are integrated in the car and are prepared for fully autonomous driving. Currently, it can park itself.
The storage space in the frunk and in the trunk is extremely generous due to the compact electric motors. Thus the Frunk offers as much storage space as the Frunks of the next four electric cars from competitors put together.
A lot of attention was also paid to the lighting inside and outside. The front lights, for example, consist of so-called micro-lens arrays, which are particularly energy-saving and at the same time guarantee a high level of illumination.
Gallery & Bonus & Videos
As a bonus, the company also gave a glimpse into the future with the Project Gravity, an SUV. We have seen that one on spy photos taken a few weeks ago.
Here is the full session recording, including the Q&A session:
This article is also available in German.