What of this upstart company Lucid and its Air sedan that threatens the throne of the Tesla Model S? If your response is “What upstart company?” or “What’s an Air sedan?” Or even, “What is a Model S?” Read on.
Unless you’re passionate about all things automotive or at least passionate about electric vehicles (EVs), Lucid Motors and its Air sedan may not ring a bell. However, this recent startup is currently the most formidable challenge to the reign of Tesla as the top dog in the luxury EV sedan fight.
Often uttered in the same sentence along with the Model S and Porsche Taycan, the Lucid Air has captured the imagination of transportation futurists and venture capitalists chasing the next “biggest thing.”
In that spirit, we thought we’d put together a highlights list of nine things you should know about the Lucid Air.
1. What is the 2022 Lucid Air?
The 2022 Lucid Air is a fully electric luxury sedan. As of now, the Air is Lucid Motors’ solitary model. Lucid presents the Air in four grades: Pure, Touring, Grand Touring, and Grand Touring Performance. Lucid did offer a fifth limited-run Dream Edition. However, the entire 2022 run sold out.
Roughly the size of the Tesla Model S, the Air is a full-size sedan, seating up to five passengers. The base model has one electric motor and rear-wheel drive (RWD). The rest of the lineup comes with two motors and all-wheel drive (AWD). Every Air includes three years of complimentary charging through the Electrify America network.
2. Who Makes the 2022 Lucid Air?
The brainchild of a couple of former Tesla executives, Atieva popped onto the Silicon Valley scene in 2007. Formed initially to develop and market power packs to third-party vehicle producers, Atieva supplied battery packs to vehicles ranging from motorcycles to buses. Over the next six years, the reliability, range, and efficiency of Atieva battery packs grew, as did the company’s aspirations. By the close of 2013, the focus turned from producing battery packs to developing and engineering a platform to showcase its core battery system. In other words, to build an EV.
Although evolving its battery packs remained Atieva’s primary mission, management began hatching plans to leap from a battery-pack supplier to an EV producer. By this time, another Tesla refugee, Peter Rawlinson, had also joined Atieva. He had been the lead engineer for the Model S. Atieva closed its initial round of fundraising to create a prototype in 2014. For the next 18 months, Atieva swelled its ranks with designers, software experts, and engineers and set about building a prototype.
In the meantime, Atieva became Lucid Motors in a reorganization in October 2016. The automaker unveiled its Air prototype for the first time shortly after that. Rawlinson, now its CTO, would take the reins as CEO in 2019. Soon after the 2016 reorganization, the company set plans to build a car-making facility in Arizona. The company announced the completion of Phase 1 of that factory in late 2020. The first Lucid Air models rolled off the assembly line in October 2021.
3. When Will the 2022 Lucid Air Go on Sale?
The limited-run Air Dream Edition launched in late 2021 and immediately sold out. Currently, the only trim levels available are the Grand Touring and Grand Touring Performance. Although you may order the entry-level Pure or the next more costly Touring grade now, Lucid won’t deliver them until the fourth quarter of 2022.
4. What is the Lucid Air’s Maximum Range?
The range varies according to the trim level. The RWD Pure and the AWD Touring deliver up to 406 miles on a full battery. Adding more than 100 miles of maximum range to the Touring, the Grand Touring can go as far as 516 miles — claiming the top spot on the longest-range list. Opting for the Grand Touring Performance drops the range back to a maximum of 446 miles.
5. How Quick is the Lucid Air?
Before it disappeared from the Air order list, the Dream Edition was the quickest among the grades. With up to 1,111 horsepower, it could go from a stop to 60 miles per hour in as little as 2.5 seconds. Its top speed was 168 miles per hour. Now the quickest honors go to the 1,050-hp Grand Touring Performance. Its 0-60 sprint takes about 2.6 seconds. With 819 hp, the Grand Touring reaches 60 mph from a standstill in 3.0 seconds. Lucid hasn’t published 0-60 numbers for the Pure or Touring. However, the Pure generates 480 hp, while the Touring delivers 620 hp. We doubt either are slackers in the runup to 60 mph.
6. How Much Does Charging the Lucid Air Cost?
The cost to charge a Lucid Air depends on many factors. Some experts have estimated it costs $16.80 to charge an Air Grand Touring (the current top-end trim) with its 112-kWh battery capacity.
With 19-inch wheels, it burns electricity at the rate of 0.26-kWh per mile. That number jumps to 0.28-kWh per mile with 21-inch wheels. Based on a cost of $0.15 per kWh, each mile you drive an Air Grand Touring costs about $.04.
Using a 350-kW DC fast charger, you can get from a 20% charge to 80% in just over 31 minutes. Getting from 0% to 100% requires 83 minutes. Going from 0% to 100% with a 240-volt system will take about 13 hours.
The good news is that the Air’s base price includes three years of free charging at any Electrify America 350-kW charging station.
7. How Much Does the Lucid Air Cost?
Lucid is currently delivering the 2022 Grand Touring ($154,000) and the 2022 Grand Touring Performance ($179,000). You can reserve the RWD Pure ($87,400), the AWD Pure ($92,900), and the Touring ($107,400). Lucid estimates delivery of the Pure and Touring will commence toward the end of the year. As of this writing, Lucid Air models qualify for a $7,500 government tax credit.
8. Is the Lucid Air Better than the Tesla Model S?
If and when the Air Pure is available, it will be more affordable than the $104,990 base Model S. Even in its AWD form, the Pure will be $12,090 less than the AWD Model S. The range of these base models is essentially the same — 406 miles versus 405 miles.
Measuring the Air Grand Touring against the Model S Plaid, the Grand Touring is more expensive at $154,000 than the Model S Plaid at $135,990. With its maximum range of 516 miles, the Grand Touring wins the day over the Model S Plaid’s 348-mile estimated range. As for thrust, the Model S claims a 0-60 time of 1.9 seconds, while the Air Grand Touring does that dash in 3.0 seconds.
9. Is the 2022 Lucid Air Right for You?
When you begin shopping for a car in the $100,000 range, needs have less to do with decision-making than wants. Representing the newest, shiny thing, the Air fits nicely into the lifestyle of those who must be first with whatever the latest technology is. When money is of little or no consequence, lining up to own the newest luxury EV makes perfect sense. With the air, you also have the bragging rights to the longest range of any current EV. Only you can determine if that’s worth $154,000 to you.
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