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Electrical car start-up Lucid unveils Air sedan in opposition to Tesla

The Lucid Air sedan, which is slated to go into production at a facility in Arizona next year.


Electric vehicle start-up Lucid is promoting its all-electric Air sedan as a more efficient, faster and roomier vehicle than the Tesla Model S, which the company's CEO Peter Rawlinson helped develop.

"What we have is an electric car breakthrough," he told the media ahead of the Air unveiling on Wednesday. "This is not only due to the batteries, but also to a whole series of considerations that add up."

Rawlinson, Tesla's chief engineer and vice president of engineering at Model S from 2009 to 2012, claims the Air price "far north" of $ 100,000 is 17% more energy efficient than Tesla models, allowing greater range with fewer cells .

The Air is very similar to previous prototype models and a concept of the car that Lucid first introduced in 2016. There are minor changes to the exterior, including larger side mirrors to meet regulations, as well as curved screens in the interior.

Exterior of the Lucid Air sedan, unveiled on September 9, 2020 as the company's first production vehicle.


Third-party testing has shown the car can reach 517 miles [EPA] on a single charge. Tesla easily surpasses Tesla's industry-leading 402 miles with one version of the Model S. According to Rawlinson, it can also do a quarter mile in 9.9 seconds. Tesla's fastest vehicle reportedly takes 10.4 seconds.

"This has never been done before," said Rawlinson. "An electric car with a range of 500 miles and the fastest thing in the world."

The company says the car can charge 300 miles in 20 minutes thanks to a 900-volt architecture. The highest charge rate is 2 miles per minute, according to Lucid.

Starting prices for the Air range from around $ 80,000 for a base model to $ 169,000 for a limited-volume "Dream Edition". The higher-priced vehicles are expected to go on sale in the second quarter of next year, followed by cheaper models in the fourth quarter and through 2022.

According to Lucid, the Air will hit the market with a 113 kilowatt-hour battery, but smaller, shorter-range batteries will be available in the future, which will likely lower the price of the vehicle.

The vehicle's performance and range vary depending on the price. Top-end models are expected to reach more than 500 miles and deliver up to 1,080 horsepower. The company did not disclose details of the entry-level model.

Lucid says a big differentiator is inside. According to Derek Jenkins, Vice President of Design at Lucid, the Air offers the space of a large sedan in a midsize car. “Here, the wonder of the Lucid packaging and our space is incredible,” he said.

Interior of the Lucid Air limousine.


The vehicle has a "floating" driver information screen behind the steering wheel and an angled control touchscreen in the lower center of the dashboard.

Rawlinson expects the Air to be the catalyst for a number of future all-electric vehicles, including an SUV that will start production in early 2023 and cheaper vehicles across the board.

The car is expected to start production at the Casa Grande, Arizona plant, southeast of Phoenix, early next year. Production was slated to start late this year but has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The $ 700 million facility, including $ 300 million for the first phase of production, is expected to have an initial production capacity of 34,000 units, which Rawlinson believes will increase to a maximum capacity of 400,000 units by the end of the decade will grow.

Lucid is among several electric vehicle startups and "traditional" automakers trying to compete with Tesla, the world's leading supplier of electric vehicles. So far, no one has been able to reach the level of the Silicon Valley automaker.

Lucid was founded in 2007 as Atieva, a name it now uses for its technical and engineering division that supplies batteries for the Formula E electric circuit. The company initially focused on electric battery technology before changing its name to an electric vehicle maker in 2016, three years after Rawlinson joined the company to lead technology development.

The Lucid Air sedan is the company's first production vehicle.


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