Lucid Motors is inspired by Tesla in many ways and hopes to take on the competition, including Tesla. In a video by CNBC, Lucid’s CEO and CTO, Peter Rawlinson, shared his thoughts about his inspiration behind the Lucid Air design, plans to take on the competition, and battery technology.
Rawlinson gained his experience in the auto industry at Tesla, Jaguar, and Lotus. At Tesla, he had an important role in the development of the Model S. At Lotus, he was chief engineer of advanced engineering.
Rawlinson explained that he took ideas from the styling design of the Model S, but he notes that Lucid is about much more than its first car. “This is about far more than the Lucid Air. We’ve created a brand — the Lucid brand — and we have to compete with other brands which are very prestigious,” said Rawlinson in the video. He also pointed out that many of these brands have existed for over 100 years.
Luxury Electric Vehicles First
Lucid is initially targeting the luxury market in a similar fashion to how Tesla did for its own Secret Master Plan. “When you look at the space for luxury sedans, it’s worth $100 billion worldwide.” There’s a lot of space in that market alone. Lucid is starting with its Air Dream Edition, which starts at $169,000, and will work its way down to the basic Air, which starts at $80,000. “I would love to be making an affordable car right now. We just can’t do that as a new company,” Rawlinson said.
CNBC noted that the luxury sedan will be released during a time when the market is moving toward SUVs and crossovers. This could be challenging for Lucid. But there also aren’t as many competitors in that particular segment. Lucid does have plans to build an SUV, called Project Gravity, which is planned to come out in 2023.
“The Gravity Project is going to feed off of a huge amount of technologies, and platform, and tooling that we’ve already invested,” said Lucid’s VP of hardware engineering, Eric Bach, who also spoke in the video.
One of the key topics mentioned in the video was Lucid’s battery technology, which Rawlinson spoke about. “We’ve got over 900 volts architecture. We link that with our inverter technology, which is silicon carbide with a very special cooling system, which we’ve developed entirely in-house, which keeps the chips super cool.”
Rawlinson said that Lucid is buying its cells from LG Chem, but that Lucid is making the battery packs entirely in-house. “That pack technology is 100% Lucid’s.”
So far, the Tesla Model S has led in battery range, with just over 400 miles of range on a full charge. The top Lucid Air, however, is expected to have a range of 517 miles.
The video also mentioned Lucid’s humble beginnings as Atieva, which once aimed to be a supplier to EVs. You can watch the full video here.
I should point out that I am a Tesla shareholder and a fan, but if it wasn’t for Tesla and my interest, I probably wouldn’t be interested in EVs or cars at all. I honestly hope that Lucid can bring the Air to market and that it succeeds. Lucid is focusing on the luxury market for now and will fill a niche that Tesla is, I think, redirecting its focus from. Tesla no longer needs to make or sell very high-end luxury vehicles to bring in the cash flow — it’s done this successfully and Elon Musk’s plan is working beautifully.
The fact that Lucid is taking inspiration from this and still sees an opening shows that Tesla is a leader in an industry filled with aging giants. To see new EV companies looking up to Tesla rather than the older automakers is inspiring, uplifting. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has stated before that Tesla needs a good EV competitor, and he’s been positive toward automakers coming out with compelling EVs.
The Lucid Air is a beautiful car and hopefully will bring fresh life into a niche market that will inspire those who have the option to choose between conventional luxury vehicles and electric luxury vehicles to go with the one that won’t pollute our air.