Lucid Air: 1065bhp EV saloon enters production in Arizona

The fastest-charging electric vehicle on sale is the UK-bound Tesla Model S, which starts at around PS40,000

Lucid, an electric vehicle startup based in California, has started production of its Air saloon. This saloon is an electric performance saloon that produces up to 1065bhp with a claimed maximum range exceeding 500 miles.

The Dream Edition models will be the first to go off the line. They are limited-run, top-spec cars that will be available for sale at the end October. Lucid claims that 13,000 customers have already reserved Grand Touring, Touring and Air Pure variants.

It is the marque’s first model, and it is said to be the most aerodynamic luxury car on the planet. The drag coefficient of the model is 0.21, which is 0.01 less than that of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It will be the fastest selling electric production car, with a top speed of 235 mph (unrestricted).

Lucid stated that the Air can run quarter-miles in 9.9sec. This makes it the first electric saloon capable of breaking the 10-second barrier. He also said that the Air is capable of doing this feat on “consistent, repeatable” basis.

To begin with, the Air will come in four trims. The base car is priced at $52,100 (PS40.040), which includes the US’s electric vehicle tax credit. It uses one electric motor to send 395bhp back to the rear wheels. A 75kWh Samsung battery pack can provide a claimed range of 240 miles.

The Touring model has power to up to 612bhp and range to 406 mile and the list price is $87,500 (PS672,250). The Grand Touring, on the other hand, packs 789bhp and costs $131,500, (PS101,060), and can travel 516 miles using the US EPA consumption cycle.

The Dream Edition is limited to the full 1065bhp output at $161,500 (PS124.130). This four-wheel-drive Dream Edition is capable of running from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds. The interior features a unique 21-inch wheel set and leather trim. Only 520 units will be made available, a nod towards the claimed range of 520 miles.

Lucid claims that all variants can recharge 300 miles in less than 20 minutes using a DC fast charger. This makes the Air “the fastest-charging electric car ever made”.

The Air is largely unchanged from its futuristic prototype, first shown in 2016. It retains its distinctive wraparound front lights bar that uses a micro lens array’ system with thousands of digitally controlled ‘light channel’ to provide bright, precise, and flexible illumination.

The Air’s low silhouette, curving corners, and short overhangs help to increase aerodynamic efficiency. A glass roof and thin window pillars give the cabin a light and airy feel. As standard, five seats are available. However, the rear bench can be replaced with two executive-style chairs.

The interior was designed with space in mind. It features a 34in curved touchscreen that appears to hover above the dashboard. 5k quality is also offered. A retractable ‘pilotpanel’ touchscreen can be reached by the driver and allows for control of certain functions and systems.

However, not all controls can be digital. Physical buttons, which are precision-milled, are used for climate control and ribbed steering wheels. Lucid also worked with Amazon to integrate Alexa voice recognition software. This software can be used to control navigation, phone calls and music streaming, as well as smart home control.

Lucid’s Electric Advanced Platform (LEAP) is the platform that the Air sits on. This minimizes the intrusion of the powertrain into your cabin and allows for more space. This architecture is also the foundation for the company’s forthcoming SUV model. It will share the majority of the Air’s mechanical makeup.

Regenerative valve technology is also available in air suspension, which claims to deliver segment-leading ride quality.

Lucid claims that the Air’s advanced driver assist system (ADAS), is “a first of its kind platform”. It includes 32 sensors that cover vision, radar, and ultrasonics. A high-resolution Lidar sensor provides high-definition mapping software. This allows for level two and three autonomous functionality.

Lucid’s first venture into the production EV market is with the Air. CEO Peter Rawlinson, who was previously chief engineer for the Tesla Model S (the Air’s main rival), hailed the new arrival a “halo vehicle for the industry” that shows the limits of EV technology.

Vice-president of Lucid’s design Derek Jenkins said, “When we started this journey at Lucid Motors, and the development our first vehicle, Lucid Air,” that we didn’t compromise. Below is an advertisement.

“The result is that the car we build is the best in the world, and the numbers speak for themselves.”

The Air was launched initially in the USA, but it is now also available for order in select European countries and in the Middle East. Although a UK launch date has not been confirmed, the Air can be ordered online for a PS770 deposit.

Lucid will construct the new car and its SUV companion at a PS546million factory in Casa Grande. The plant will employ approximately 2000 people by 2022. The company plans to eventually produce 20,000 units annually. In the US, 20 service and retail centers will be opened by the firm by 2021.