A Silicon Valley startup, backed by US, Chinese, and Japanese investors, will soon produce a fully electric 1,000 horsepower luxury sedan.
Lucid Motors, formerly called Atieva, was founded by Bernard Tse, a former Tesla vice president and board member. Lucid’s chief technology officer is Peter Rawlinson, the former vice president and chief engineer for Tesla’s Model S.
With a claimed 2.5 second 0-60 mph time, the acceleration of their sedan is equal to the Tesla Model S P100D (with the Ludicrous Speed option installed). Picture a family sedan that will out accelerate almost every supercar ever made, average a 400-mile range, and feature private jet levels of rear-seat refinement.
With two electric motors (front wheels with 400 hp and rear with 600 hp), the Air also has all-wheel-drive, and as you might expect from a futuristic electric car, the Air will have autonomous driving features. Some will be available right away, while other, more advanced systems will be activated via a software update later.
The included hardware to make self-driving possible includes long and short range radar, cameras and lidar to help the Air scan the environment around it.
The car is expected to have a 100kWh battery pack – the same as the largest battery offered by Tesla, but Lucid says it has a 130kWh model in the works, which would be the largest battery ever fitted to a production car. It is estimated that this larger battery would offer roughly 600-miles per charge.
An optional “executive seating” pack for rear passengers takes a similar approach to private jet-style luxury as the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes S-Class. The two rear seats recline by up to 55 degrees and passengers are treated to music from a 29-speaker audio system, or complete silence thanks to active noise cancellation and “enhanced cabin isolation”.
Other features include voice commands, a smartphone app for remotely setting the climate control, and a new battery which Lucid claims can be regularly fast-charged without causing damage.
Up front, the car features three rectangular dashboard screens that display an array of driving-related data, as well as a disappearing tablet-like screen between the two passengers.
Lucid Air is largely an exercise in bleeding-edge tech, with supercomputers allegedly wringing 12% more efficiency out of the electric powertrain when compared to rivals and artificial intelligence algorithms optimizing the car’s cooling system.
As for price, Lucid says the first 255 cars it produces, called the Launch Edition and fully-loaded with optional extras, will cost $160,000 and reservations are now open via a $25,500 deposit. A lesser version without the executive rear seats will follow with a price of around $100,000; this car can be reserved with a more modest $2,500 deposit. Expect to see them on the roads in 2018.
Lucid is in this race against all high-end manufacturers. They are not just interested in competing with Tesla, but also Audi, BMW, and Mercedes as well. Expect to see some smaller battery vehicles to be next up. A bit less range, but that will allow them to be more affordable.