CALIFORNIA-BASED electric car start-up Lucid has today revealed the entry-level model of its Tesla Model S-rivalling luxury saloon.
The Lucid Air boasts a mightily impressive 406-mile claimed range and power output of 473bhp.
Including the US government’s potential $7,500 tax credit for those who buy electric cars, it costs $69,900 (£53,600), meaning that the real cost stands at $77,400 (£59,336). The £7,500 is only available to those in the US who pay at least that amount annually in tax, and other variables like battery size and state rules can also affect the amount received in rebate.
The $77,400 price tag makes the most accessible variant of the electric saloon around $7,000 more expensive than the entry level Model S, the Long Range model (a Standard Range variant was withdrawn from the lineup last year). The Model S has dual-motor all wheel drive, whereas the Lucid Air comes with single-motor rear wheel drive as standard, although it can be optioned with a dual-motor all wheel drive configuration.
The price difference between the two competitors would have been more insignificant had Tesla not quietly reduced the US price of the Model S by $3000 earlier this week. The entry level Tesla saloon has a range of 379 miles, 27 less than the claimed range of the Air.
However, it is not just the entry level of the Model S that Lucid has its eyes on, with variants with increasing price tags and levels of ludicrousness set to join the base Air model. The range-topping, limited run Lucid Air Dream Edition is set to rival Tesla’s newly unveiled Model S Plaid, which it claims to be the quickest mass-production car ever made.
Tesla says its car is able to go from 0-60 in under two seconds and gallop a quarter of a mile in just nine, thanks to its three motors, which work in concert to produce a staggering 1,085bhp, and has a range of more than 500 miles — when driven cautiously, of course.
The Lucid Air Dream Edition, meanwhile, has a still-sufficient 1,065bhp to its name, supplied by a dual-motor set up that could see it hit the roads significantly less bulky than the two tonne Model S Plaid. Like the Plaid, it has a claimed range of more than 500 miles, and like the Plaid it can cover a quarter of a mile in under ten seconds (although just, at 9.9 seconds).
The Lucid comes in at around $21,000 (£16,100) more expensive than the Tesla, at $161,000 (£123,600). That sounds expensive — which it is — but both cars might be seen as a bargain when compared to other models with such incredible performance stats.
If the Dream Edition’s price tag is just out of reach, or you miss out on the limited run, there’s also the Lucid Air Grand Touring, which has an even bigger claimed range (517 miles), and costs $30,000 less.
Peter Rawlinson, Lucid’s CEO, has made some thinly-veiled comparisons between Lucid and Tesla. For example, he has claimed that the Air is significantly more efficient than its “closest competitor” — 17%, specifically — and that its technology is far more sophisticated than the “industry leader”.
He has gone as far to call the Air a “Halo car for the entire industry, one which shows the advancements that are possible by pushing the boundaries of EV technology and performance to new levels.” Which is fighting talk if ever we heard it.
The stats would seem to back up some of the claims; the Air is slated to be the fastest-charging EV on the market, able to top up at a rate of 20 miles a minute when connected to a fast charging network. That means that in the 20 minutes it takes to go to the toilet and grab a coffee at a service station, the Air could have added up to 300 miles to its battery — as long as you can find a charging point powerful enough.
On this side of the Atlantic we’ll have to wait a while to see whether or not the base-model Air can deliver on such big promises. It’s not available until 2022 in the US, with no confirmed UK release date or price yet, though deposits are being taken. Fully refundable reservation costs are £200. If you want to join the list for the middling Air Touring or super-long range Air Grand Touring, it’s £770. Reservations for the Dream Edition cannot be made in the UK at present.