Published on April 14th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart0
Lucid Air Prototype Hits 217 MPH (Video)
April 14th, 2017 by Nicolas Zart
It’s amazing to see what a small, dedicated team of automotive and electric vehicle (EV) experts can achieve in 3 short years — from creating a concept to creating a working platform. Lucid Motors just ran a special version of its electric Lucid Air that reached 217 MPH on a special track. And that is just the beginning.
Lucid Air Hits 217 MPH
Although you and I won’t hit 217 MPH on the local highway anytime soon, unless you want to spend some cozy time in jail, this high-speed EV is a wicked feat after just 3 years of development. Designing cars takes time, and designing a performance EV takes even longer. However, Lucid managed a great deal in a short amount of time and with a limited team of about 300 people.
This news comes with perfect timing, just after the company announced it secured more capital to fund the development of its planned $700 million electric vehicle production facility in Casa Grande, Arizona, as reported by fellow writer Kyle Field on Teslarati.
In CleanTechnica‘s initial test ride at the Los Angeles Petersen Museum, we walked away highly impressed with the Lucid Motors Air. The EV revealed impressive untapped potential performance. With a not-yet-sorted-out chassis, off-the-shelf Pirelli tires, and little time to coordinate the handling dynamics, the Lucid Air mule took us up a spiraling ramp at 25 MPH, zig-zagged effortlessly between obstacles, and came to a halt without brutalizing us. That was already impressive, but when I found it did this without the use of any traction control systems, I was really impressed. We’re not too surprised now to see this car handle 217 MPH … and perhaps even more soon.
Lucid Tests The Air To Its Limit
Lucid had been testing the Air throughout the winter in the northern parts of the US, where the company experimented on its icy road handling. This speed test was done at the TRC Ohio’s oval track and revealed that the Air has even more speed potential to be unlocked.
Based on a specifically modified high-performance test Air, which the company dubbed Alpha Speed Car, a roll cage was installed for safety in order to evaluate the EV at the limit of its performance. Over the 7.5-mile oval track, the Air reached 217 MPH (350 km/h), putting it squarely in the Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, and other exotic carmaker landscape. This is yet another thumb nose to these internal combustion engines (ICE) carmakers that now have to rely on some form of electrification, now through a hybrid drivetrain, in order to squeeze more performance while meeting ever stringent emission standards. Lucid is showing again how EVs continue to challenge ICE technology. And lest we bring back the overused range issue associated with EVs, I have yet to hear any souped up 911 or LaFerrari owner mention range as criteria when choosing their cars.
It’s also interesting to note that the Air is estimated to achieve 100 MPGe. This takes another poke at exotic carmakers, whose supercars often yield 14 mpg combined, on a good day. In fact, friends of ours lent us a 2011 Honda Crosstek that got 13 mpg around town, barely achieving 15 mpg combined. EVs reveal more and more the disconnect between luxury, performance, and energy use.
Why test a car when we have computer simulations? Lucid said bringing the EV to a track field and testing its top speed performance was a way to demonstrate its capabilities. It also helps in determining areas of improvement that cannot be found in static bench tests. The data gathered from this speed record will be put to good use to further improve thermal and aerodynamics.
What makes me particularly happy is that Lucid said the top speed was electronically limited. This leads to believe that the Air has more to offer. In fact, the company is hinting at another test later this year reaching for higher speeds.
I feel Lucid has a serious contender in the EV field. The Air offers serious performance potential and if the company hits its $60,000 starting price (however, detuned), it will mean a lot of bang for the buck. I did ask Peter Rowlinson, CEO at Lucid, and David Mosely, Director of Powertrain and the battery system brain behind the Air, to develop a small series of Air stripped of any luxury items with bare-bone performance in mind. They did smile and liked the idea. Perhaps we can look forward to that?
In the meantime, we applaud Lucid’s success in this short amount of time. The Lucid Air reaching an electronically limited speed of 217 MPH pushes the EV envelop even more and challenges exotic carmakers to seriously get onboard the electric drivetrain.