The origin stories behind the branding of electric car manufacturer Lucid Motors are fascinating. For proper understanding, I had a chance to visit headquarters in Newark, CA to meet with designers, engineers, software developers, and communications executives as they discussed the intimate details of the company’s latest two models, highlighting the first volume production models. And just like Atlanta hip-hop group Outkast’s classic, the products are “so fresh and so clean!”
Two New Lucid Models
Excitement over new possibilities stemmed from drive time in the all-electric, high-performance 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring (GT) and Grand Touring Performance (GTP) sedans and a day of immersion into the Lucid culture. For $154,000, the GT generates 819-horsepower and accelerates to 60 mph in just 3 seconds. The GTP increases output to 1,050 electric horses with a warping speed of 2.6 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. In this example, luxury car buyers can expect to spend $179,000 before the GTP’s potential $7,500 federal tax credit. These prices do not include the $1,500 destination fee. Yes, these high-end vehicles are slated for wealthy individuals who can afford the finer things, from second and third homes to yachts and opulent vacations.
Battery and Electrification Education
According to Lucid, the Lucid Air Grand Touring leads the EV industry in efficiency with an EPA-estimated range of up to 516 miles or 4.6 miles of driving range per kilowatt hour. The Lucid Electric Drive Unit features two motors (one up front and one in the rear) to create an AWD platform which came into play around the winding roads of the Santa Cruz mountains. The vehicle is balanced, and weight transfers are fluid for optimal performance. At higher speeds, the GT and GTP are stiff and compliant; while cruising, the vehicle is pure and seductive. Track-proven battery technology stems from Formula E experience where Lucid has provided the battery packs since 2018.
Initially partnering with Electrify America, the in-house engineered Lucid Air Battery Pack is compatible with any public charging station. It can deliver up to 300 miles of charge in approximately 21 minutes from the high-capacity 112 kWh (118 kWh GTP), 900v battery at a 350 kWh DC fast charger. Higher kWhs translate to a more extended driving range. The unit also features bi-directional capabilities to power your house if there is an outage. It converts the vehicle’s DC electricity (direct current) back to AC electricity (alternating current) through its onboard bi-directional charger. Also expect a 10-year / 100,000-mile battery warranty.
The Lucids power up when you unlock the doors and feature three drive mode settings: Smooth, Swift, and Sprint. Steering, torque, regeneration settings, and damping are all influenced by the mode of choice selected. Launch Control (LC) is my favorite performance feature, engaged out of Sprint mode. At PayPal Park we demonstrated LC which excited me emotionally as the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance squatted into the suspension and blasted off upon full acceleration. There is nothing like the instantaneous acceleration of electric torque. Eric Bach, Lucid Senior Vice President of Product and Chief Engineer, also iterated how tire development is customized with brands like Michelin and Pirelli for the precise specs required.
With two settings, one-pedal driving simulates braking when you release the throttle, but you can’t turn it off completely. I’m not a fan and had Lucid tame it down so I could manipulate the braking myself.
Special Edition Dream Edition
Before my Northern Cali visit, I had the pleasure of a spirited test drive around Fairfax County, Virginia in a special edition Eureka Gold Lucid Air Dream Edition. Sorry, Lucid sold all 520 units of the $169,900 limited production vehicle to forward thinkers who will be liberated by its 2.42 second 0 to 60 mph time. The vehicle’s design is emotionally appealing and its performance is magnificent. Depending on packaging, the maximum output is an astonishing 1,111-horsepower and 520 miles of range with 19″ wheels. Lucid was going for efficiency during the product planning process, but performance became the byproduct. In addition to the Dream Edition, GT, and GTP, the Lucid lineup includes the $87,400 Pure and the $107,400 Touring, which have begun production with availability in quarter four.
EV Software Development
Though the EV space comprises less than 3% of the US automotive market in totality, the goal is to continue developing battery-powered machines to reduce the carbon footprints that humans generate from their inventions. We must explore alternative fuel sources for a better, brighter, and cleaner future. Of course, helping to spearhead that charge is EV startup Lucid Motors, with a 500-acre manufacturing plant in Arizona. The company also develops the majority of its core technologies and software in-house. Derrick Carty, VP of Software Platform, explained that the audio system, Android-based operating system, and navigation are designed and implemented directly by Lucid. With 50 plus computers in the vehicle and five unique operating systems, updates can be executed over-the-air including the active suspension and acoustic settings. Lucid is off to a great start, but the features need to be enhanced to reflect the price point of the vehicles. I found the audio to be a bit weak and had some frustrations with the navigation. Lucid says the best listening experience is with Adobe recorded music such as Tidal.
Stylistically, the Air is as unique and titillating as they come. Derek Jenkins, Lucid Senior VP of Design and Brand, stated how they looked at aircraft designs for inspiration. With 100% aluminum architecture, the Grand Touring is long and sits extremely low for better aerodynamics. An all-glass canopy (roof) extends from the windshield in an interesting one-piece glass and roof combo that is outlined by aluminum trim to create a two-tone effect no matter if you select a Quantum Grey, Cosmos Silver, Infinite Black, Stellar White, or Zenith Red hue. However, remember that glass attracts heat, especially in regions like Florida. A large cavity under the front hood provides 280 liters of storage. Easy entry into the vehicle stem from 90-degree door openings and a choice of three 21-inch, one 20-inch, and one 19-inch rim design provides character. Lucid also placed 14 cameras and 32 sensors around the Airs. In the rear, the largest single-piece taillamp in the industry flows with the clamshell opening trunk.
A 34” main screen and 12.3” center stack touch display operates everything from the steering wheel and mirror adjustments to the 21-speaker “Surreal Sound” audio system, massage, and climate settings. At the same time, open-pore wood accentuates the two-tone cabin. Inside is very spacious with headroom for taller individuals and no visible blind spots.
“The day is bright, and the air is clear after the midday sun burns off a hazy morning Sunlight intensifies the colors and highlights the coastal landscape.” Santa Cruz Interior Description
Retailers and Service
Enter any Lucid Retail Studio to customize your vehicle and familiarize yourself with the brand. The lifestyle space features a lounge, display vehicles, visual content, and a 4K Virtual Reality Experience Configurator for customers to personalize their sedan from exterior hues to interior material selections, all inspired by and named after specific cities in California such as Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, and Tahoe. You can also select your Lucid Air entirely online at www.LucidMotors.com.
For maintenance, Lucid will place a service center in the vicinity of every retailer. Some of these locations will also perform bodywork. The EV maker will also provide mobile service to go along with the over-the-air software updates. Lastly, there is the option of Lucid staff picking up your vehicle for service.
It was a pure moment of reflection into the future of mobility as the emergence of electrification conversations continues to take precedence in an era of global warming and planetary resource depletion. Every major automaker plans to launch an EV within the next ten years, from Audi to Bentley (if they haven’t already). In the mix is Lucid, who is primed for the bevy of conscious consumers looking for evolutionary change.