The Air has been described as a rival to the very best premium offerings from Tesla, but with two electric motors delivering an extraordinary 986bhp, it may prove to be a contender to the most extreme hypercars on the market today.
Its 0-62mph time is certainly more in the Ferrari league - an extraordinary 2.5 seconds, although here again, the very top-of-the-range Tesla S P100 D is also capable of the same speeds. The battery range of the all-electric vehicle is expected to be similar too, around 400 miles in everyday driving conditions.
One area where the Air is definitely a match for Tesla is the price. The new car is expected to cost around £130,000, a little over the £123,000 asking price for the P100D.
To no-one’s surprise, the Lucid team is working out of California but the project is backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, the 37th richest man in China according to Forbes. Having initially made his fortune through online video, Yueting is now making several investments in the EV sector.
The Air’s body proportions are about the same as a Mercedes S-Class, but with the electric motors and batteries stationed under the body, Lucid have been able to expand the cabin space, giving rear passengers more of a “business class” experience. The seats can be put into a 55 degree recline position, while retractable trays fastened to the back of the driver and front passenger seats can be turned over and used as tablets.
Users will also be treated to audio from a 29-speaker sound system and the hardware required for autonomous driving capability built into the car as standard.
Its expensive now, but Lucid’s Chief Technology Office, Peter Rawlinson, is determined to reduce the price of later models down to around £50,000, putting it into competition with more regular executive car offerings. That’s a long way from the company’s initial mission, which was to improve battery life for electric vehicles.
“Our company started in 2007 with a battery and an idea”, according to Lucid. “We wanted to contribute to the growth of electrified vehicles and we focused our initial efforts on developing a battery system that could be scaled to work across many vehicle types. The batteries that we built have now logged millions of miles of real-world driving. As we expanded our efforts to developing complete powertrain systems, it became clear that the most direct route to increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road was to develop our own.”
The Air is the latest in a line of premium EV offerings to surface this year. In October, Jaguar unveiled the I-PACE, its first all-electric car, and the first EV concept SUV. Henrik Fisker, the designer behind the Fisker Karma, announced his intention to build a new all-electric performance car, the EMotion. More established names such as BMW and Mercedes are also expanding their EV range in the New Year, but Lucid believes they have made a truly class-defining model.
The company said in a statement: “With the guiding principles of user-focused design, advanced technology and premium craftsmanship, we are fully utilising the unique performance and packaging benefits of an electric vehicle. The result is an experience that is effortless, intelligent, and personalised. An experience unlike any other on the road”.
It may look futuristic but Lucid Motors will unveil the concept model in the New Year and are taking orders for the Air now, with the first cars expected to be delivered in 2018.
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