The small and subtle California electric vehicle (EV) carmaker Lucid Air has hit 235 mph* with its Alpha Speed Car prototype on the 7.5-mile oval track while thumbing its nose at the so-called competition. (*235.44 mph, to be exact.)
Lucid Air Hits 235 MPH
In and of itself, Lucid Air hitting 235 mph is not that terribly exciting. Others have done and will continue to reach those speeds and above. Doing it in an EV is already newsworthy, but how about one designed and built in a few short years with a team of fewer than 300 people? Impossible, no? Maybe if we’re talking about a Koenigsegg or other ultra-rare exotic supercars, but this is planned to be a $60,000 EV that aims to shake the EV world with conviction and passion. Passion is something the company certainly has, our last interview and Lucid Air test ride with its officers confirm.
The brief but thoroughly enjoyable test ride of the Lucid Air mule on the not-optimized Petersen Museum parking lot tarmac was an eye opener and an excitement I hadn’t felt in many years. If this is what this new company can offer in such a short amount of time (that type of performance–price sweet spot), then we can say EVs are starting to deliver on their potential. Lucid Air hitting 235 mph in a such a short amount of design and development time is simply impressive.
And to think the Lucid Air hitting 235 mph wasn’t impressive enough, the company believes there is still room for improvement!
Lucid Air Hits 235 MPH. So What?
If racing leaves you feeling blah and you just don’t get it, remember that it does serve many purposes. Short of testing the obvious speed potential, it opens up the car’s racing potentials and advertises it to the world. It is also a normal tried and true test platform, which so far hints at Mercedes-like comfort and performance, but as a truly green car.
Speed tests are part of every car’s development cycle and the Lucid Air is no exception. What it does surprise with are impressive performance results that leave an untapped future in front of the company.
What Lucid is really pointing itself toward is exactly that market segment Tesla is so elegantly dominating, the luxury car segment. Right in the Tesla Model S range, Lucid has a platform it says it can sell at an entry-level $60,000 up to most likely mid-$100K for a fully loaded car. (The Tesla Model S currently starts at $69,500, but we’ll have to wait to find up if Tesla drops or raises the price by the time the Lucid Air comes out, and how much it improves.)
With its Alpha Speed Car prototype reaching 235 mph at the Transportation Research Center test track in Ohio, Lucid is now squarely into LaFerrari performance territory but in an “affordable way” with an entry-level version based on the same platform. Essentially, you have the potential to own unprecedented performance for a consumer electric car that hopefully can be unlocked at the flip of a keyboard. It’s simply brilliant.
Lucid & Lucid Air Consumer Matters
Unlike another EV startup that is finally redefining and streamlining itself again, Lucid offers concrete results and points to deliverables soon. And compared to the overpowering German automotive PR machine, it is achieving broad and important press at a fraction of the marketing budget.
So far, Lucid promises a 1,000 HP EV with a range of 400 miles, which would be roughly the equivalent of 100 MPGe. A 315-mile version will also be available, and reportedly a rear-wheel-drive base model sporting a 240-mile range and a healthy 400 hp to boot (to remind traffic what the future looks like and who holds the torch).
Currently, Lucid is taking deposits of $2,500 for its Air, which is due for production soon. However, keep your eyes on the special 255 “Launch Edition” model series that a few lucky and discerning aficionados will get their hands on. That special edition will have the 315-mile battery range option kicking out 1,000 hp, which promises to be a lot of fun anywhere, anytime.
Of course, building cars means having a place to build them. Lucid’s initial factory is in Casa Grande, Arizona, as chosen and announced last year. Lucid is currently raising $700 million for the plant. If it wants to meet its 2019 production deadline, it will need to continue the breakneck pace it has undergone the past 4 years. If the company aims to build 10,000 cars the first year, ramping to 50,000 after that won’t be any small task.
Does The Lucid Air Have Serious Competition?
Depending on your definition of competition, I’d say that so far no other players have wrapped up an EV in such an impressive way as Lucid has. The impressively short amount of time it took the team to develop the Air and its unmatched performance is yet another way of showing how EVs liberate engineers from internal combustion engine constraints, but the important points is that the engineering team had the aim of maxing out an EV’s potential at a reasonable cost.
Although we’ve traditionally included Faraday Future as competition, the company is now restructuring itself and has dropped its Nevada plant plans. We’ll have to see what it offers the market, if it ever gets to market with a product, but nothing seems to be coming anytime soon.
In the meantime, the only other competition on the horizon would be Nio. However, the company hasn’t (yet) delivered anything like what Lucid has shown.
There is, of course, poster child Tesla, which leads the news when it comes to leaving traditional automakers behind in the fast-blooming electric-car world. But how much cross-shopping there will be between upstart Lucid’s offerings and the now quite abundant Model S is something that’s hard to judge at this point.
So far, Germany seems very keen on using the full might of its teutonic marketing arms. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche are predicting and talking about their future production models, theoretically available over the next few years. So far, there’s much more enthusiasm and hype than deliveries, but that could change if they really do have hard work going on behind the scenes.
Jaguar has also joined the race and Aston Martin is readying itself for an EV surprise.
Lucid needs more than top-speed records to sway customers away from more established EV makers, but news of the Lucid Air hitting 235 mph can only help cement Lucid as a top Tesla alternative, a sort of Maserati to Ferraris in the world of EVs, but much more affordable.