Lucid’s fast-charging 1080-hp, 500-mile electric sedan debuts for real

There’s been a whole lot of “believe it when we see it” in the burgeoning electric vehicle market throughout recent years, and Lucid Motors has been one of the poster children of that phenomenon. But the Silicon Valley company is now ready for the world to see and believe. Nearly four years after we first became familiar with the term “Lucid Air,” Lucid reveals its production-ready sedan ahead of a Spring 2021 delivery start. With space-optimized luxury and available hypercar power on tap, the Lucid Air promises to be a sedan quite unlike the typical neighborhood family four-door.

Save for the sharp new “Eureka Gold” finish available for the flagship Dream Edition, the production Lucid Air looks much the same as the prototype has for the past four years, not a bad thing as it’s a clean, attractive design with a market-leading drag coefficient of 0.21.

On the numbers side, there are some small shifts and additions, including a nominal bump in range-topping power, which rises from the even 1,000 hp quoted previously to 1,080 hp in the Dream Edition. More interesting for everyday drivers are the range estimates, which top 400 miles (644 km) for all three Air models detailed this week, rising right up to a previously unheard-of 517 miles (832 km) for the mid-level 800-hp Air Grand Touring with available AeroRange mileage-extending wheel/tire package. We look forward to seeing what shakes out when the EPA puts the Air range and efficiency to the test.

Integral to all trims of Air sedan is Lucid’s “Space Concept,” which involves shrinking down the electric powertrain package to create a “full-size luxury-class interior” within the smaller dimensions of an aero-optimized sport sedan capable of serious performance. The space-enhancing design also gives the Air an abyss-like 280-liter frunk that Lucid calls the biggest in its class, teaming with the trunk for 739 liters of total cargo space.

“It’s relatively easy to achieve more range by adding progressively more batteries, but gaining ‘dumb range’ that way increases weight and cost and reduces interior space,” Lucid Motors CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson explained last month. “Lucid Air has achieved its remarkable range whilst also reducing battery size through its in-house technology, resulting in a breakthrough in overall vehicle-level efficiency.”

The Air is based around a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive architecture with 113-kWh battery pack. Depending upon model, that battery power gets funneled toward either mileage-maximizing efficiency or performance-boosting power. On the 1,080-hp Air Dream Edition, it translates to a 2.5-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) time and consistent quarter-miles as low as 9.9 seconds, according to Lucid. Top speed is listed at 168 mph (270 km/h).

Lucid credits its 900-V+ electrical architecture and custom lithium-ion cells with empowering the fastest charging tech in the business, estimating charging rates as quick as 20 miles (32 km) per minute. Buyers can get a very practical 300 miles (482 km) of range in a mere 20 minutes of pit stop time when plugged into a DC fast charger. Lucid US buyers will enjoy three years of complimentary charging at Electrify America’s network of fast-charging stations. Lucid will also offer an available bi-directional home charging station.

The Dream Edition will be the first model to launch, with deliveries planned for Spring 2021. Along with its high-powered, performance-sharpened tune, the limited edition model will come standard with Lucid’s 32-sensor Level 2/Level 3 advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS). It will also include a luxurious “Santa Monica” interior with full-grain Bridge of Weir leather, silvered Eucalyptus wood accents and special badging.

Speaking of the interior, the Lucid Air does away completely with any hint of analog instruments, interfacing instead with a 34-in curved “Glass Cockpit” 5K display. Physical controls aren’t entirely unwelcome, though, as a selection of precision-milled switches and rollers hangs over the retractable central touch display. Amazon Alexa voice control is also available for operating in-vehicle features like navigation, infotainment and climate control and connecting with cloud features like smart home control.

Lucid plans to finish construction on its Casa Grande, Arizona production facility by the end of 2020 and begin production of customer cars in early 2021. After the Dream Edition rolls out in spring, the Grand Touring will follow in Summer 2021 and the Touring model later in the year. The base-level Air, which Lucid doesn’t seem to have quite figured out beyond a “below $80K” price tag, will follow in 2022. Reservations are available now in the US and Canada, along with select European and Middle Eastern countries. The Dream Edition requires a $7,500 refundable deposit, the other models $1,000.

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