lucid air arrives

Four years ago I journeyed to Lucid Motors, a startup electric vehicle company with an office and workspace in Menlo Park, California. Lucid was one of a gaggle of emerging EV makers who all asserted that their new offerings were better than Tesla. Lucid gave journalists short rides around the block in prototype vehicles with bursts of crisp acceleration a demonstration of autonomous driving capability. My main takeaway at the time was that the interior space, especially rear headroom, was far better than the Tesla Model S. 

Over these few years, most of Lucid’s fledging rivals have gone away with a couple doing business in their home market of China. When I traveled to Lucid this time, I recorded real production cars at its new offices and development center in Newark, California and found an up and running enterprise with a new Arizona factory coming online as I write this.

Designed in California, Built in Arizona

Lucid’s all-American strategy is both a compelling marketing tool and, under current import sanctions with China, a sound business advantage. More than a couple of Lucid rivals dropped launch plans when the twenty-five-percent tariffs weighed in on the financial calculations.

Keeping all the operations here will also enable relatively quick delivery of customer orders. Lucid’s first offering is the AIR Dream Edition, the luxury sedan with every box checked to offer the highest performance, such as zooming to a quarter mile in under 10-seconds along with more than 500-miles range It’s the model that CEO Peter Rawlinson will park in his garage and you can own one just like it for $169,000. If that’s a bit more Lucid than you need, other more affordable trim levels will follow.

Performance Developed at Speed

When Lucid took to the track a few years ago, it calmly managed a 235 MPH speed on a high-banked circuit. And that was in the Lucid Air sedan model, albeit without a passenger interior. While the 1080-HP production Dream edition may not reach those speeds, its 0-to-60 sprint is an impressive 2.5-seconds and the big luxury machine will reach a ¼-mile in just 9.9-seconds. That’s faster than a Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock, a muscle car built for just ¼-mile drag races.

More impressive is the unofficial 517-mile range, established in everyday driving with passengers aboard. The 0.21 coefficient of drag (CD) helps both speed and range, and when recharging is needed, the 900-volt architecture allows electric refills at a rate of 20-miles-per-minute, or 300-miles in 20-minutes when connected to a DC fast charger. Porsche has also asserted speed and performance creds with its Taycan Turbo S electric sedan. But it isn’t as quick, has a 192-mile range and retails for $185,000.