There is no scarcity of tech startups with bold plans to construct electrical automobiles, with various levels of hype and flakiness. Lucid Motors is one among these rising younger manufacturers, and whereas its first product, the 2022 Air luxurious sedan, options its justifiable share of gadgetry and design dazzle, it is also a formidable instance of what may end up when tech dweebs and automotive nerds collaborate.
The Lucid Air made its debut because the limited-production Dream Version, which has since bought out, and now could be within the strategy of fleshing out the lineup. We sampled the now-top-spec Grand Touring Efficiency close to Lucid’s headquarters in Newark, California, and examined the next-rung-down Grand Touring again dwelling in Michigan. Decrease-cost Touring and Pure trims are set to hitch the lineup by the tip of the 12 months, however for now the $140,500 Grand Touring is probably the most reasonably priced variant.
For that six-figure outlay, you get a four-door EV sedan with a luxuriously trimmed cabin, 819 horsepower, all-wheel drive, and an EPA-estimated driving vary that is far and away probably the most beneficiant amongst EVs. The particular sauce is Lucid’s revolutionary battery pack (112.0-kWh capability within the Grand Touring) and its super-aerodynamic design, which permits it to attain as much as an estimated 516 miles per cost when outfitted with the usual 19-inch wheels. (The optionally available 21-inch wheels cut back that to 469 miles.) In our 75-mph freeway vary take a look at, our Grand Touring take a look at automotive (on 19s) managed 410 miles—significantly lower than the EPA quantity, however nonetheless the very best results of any EV we have ever examined, and the primary to prime 400 miles.
The $180,500 Grand Touring Efficiency entices with 1050 horsepower, however even with its barely bigger 118.0-kWh battery pack, its EPA vary estimate is decrease at 446 miles. Twenty-one-inch wheels sporting summer time tires are normal right here, which contributes to the decreased vary, however the extra energy potential from the electrical motors can also be partially guilty.
Charging is fast in each Grand Touring fashions, and Lucid estimates that on a DC fast-charging connection, 300 miles might be added to the battery in simply 21 minutes. Once we did our fast-charging take a look at from 10 to 90 % cost on an Air Dream, it took 46 minutes at a mean fee of 135 kW, the quickest we had ever measured. Dwelling charging is slower, naturally, however the Air can settle for the best fee of Stage 2 charging, 19.2 kW, assuming your own home is wired to offer at that fee, which might add about 75 miles for each hour the automotive is plugged in.
Highly effective Efficiency
Each fashions are powered by a twin electrical motor powertrain, and Lucid claims the extra highly effective Efficiency model can hit 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. (The marginally extra highly effective Dream Version Efficiency model did precisely that once we examined it earlier this 12 months.) The 819-hp Grand Touring, in the meantime, hit 60 mph in 3.0 seconds flat at our take a look at observe.
Merely feathering the accelerator pedal strikes both Lucid ahead at once, however the Efficiency is noticeably punchier. A launch-control function permits the motive force to simply unlock the automotive’s most functionality for straight-line efficiency: First choose Dash mode, then merely maintain your left foot on the brake and mat the go pedal till the telltale blue-bear brand seems on the gauge show. Launch the brake, and the automotive rockets ahead with a whoosh and just about no wheelspin.
The Air’s highway manners are refined and borderline athletic. It isn’t as sharp because the Porsche Taycan, and its width makes it really feel much less nimble than an Audi e-tron GT. The 0.82 g of grip on the 19-inch all-season vary tire additionally falls properly in need of these vehicles, whereas the earlier Dream Version we examined on the summer time 21s did 0.92 g. However the Grand Touring nonetheless affords a compelling mix of consolation and sport. Three driving modes alter the automotive’s suspension, steering, and powertrain to a shocking diploma. Easy mode, the Air’s most comfy setting, units the dampers to absorb bumps as a lot as attainable and limits the horsepower to assist protect vary. Swift and Dash modes are the place issues get extra fascinating, with the latter unlocking the utmost horsepower. The dampers are firmed up in these settings for higher dealing with, and the steering dials in a bit extra heft in addition to some highway really feel that is largely absent within the default Easy mode.
Regardless of the setting, the Air’s brake pedal feels squishy by means of the preliminary little bit of journey earlier than firming up because the pads chew on the rotors. Fortunately, the Air’s two regenerative braking modes—Normal and Excessive—each are aggressive sufficient in order that drivers can keep away from touching the brakes the vast majority of the time, though some drivers may welcome a much less regenerative coast mode. The Air Grand Touring’s 193-foot cease from 70 mph, although, is a disappointing efficiency, some 30 ft longer than that from the summer-tire-equipped Dream.
The Air’s design to a big diploma is each aesthetically pleasing and considerate. The front- and rear-seat passenger compartments are extra spacious than anticipated, and inside supplies are each premium and modern, with smooth nappa-leather upholstery and textile-covered sprint panels. Cleverly situated storage bins, together with one hidden beneath the decrease infotainment show display, present ample locations to stash smaller gadgets, and the Air’s cargo capability is satisfactory due to a deep properly beneath the automotive’s hood and a wide-mouthed, if considerably awkwardly accessed, trunk.
Missteps are few, however they embody a wi-fi charging pad that would accommodate an iPhone 13 Professional Max solely when the telephone was inserted caseless and the wrong way up. Much like the Tesla Mannequin X SUV, the Lucid Air’s windshield runs uninterrupted up and over the roof, making a wide-open view for everybody inside. The sort of vehicular showmanship is bound to impress potential patrons after they first slide behind the wheel, however the wow issue rapidly turns into a sweat-on-the-brow issue when the automotive sits within the solar.
To match the Air’s cutting-edge electrical powertrain, Lucid has put in an equally spectacular infotainment system, however its software program remains to be a piece in progress. The curved 34.0-inch show and onscreen graphics give the interface a high-end look, however the software program often lags, and accessing easy options typically requires wading by means of submenus. Lucid assures us that enhancements are on the way in which through over-the-air updates and says that as many as 17 updates have already been pushed out to buyer vehicles for the reason that Air’s launch. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on the listing to be added to the infotainment system however have not but been enabled. The unfinished nature of the infotainment software program mixed with some physique creaks and squeaks remind us that that is an early-build automotive from a brand-new automaker.
Nonetheless, as a primary stab at luxurious EV motoring, the Lucid Air is a mighty spectacular piece with many traits each automotive lovers and expertise aficionados will respect. Lucid, for probably the most half, has prevented the temptation of stunt engineering and as an alternative centered on making a groundbreaking electrical automotive with excellence rooted in efficiency and effectivity.
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