What about this startup company Lucid and its Air sedan threatening the throne of the Tesla Model S? If your answer is “What new company?” or “What is an Air sedan?” Or even, “What’s a Model S?” Read more.
Unless you have a passion for all things automotive, or at least a passion for electric vehicles (EVs), Lucid Motors and its Air sedan won’t ring a bell. However, this recent startup is currently the most formidable challenge to Tesla’s reign as the top dog in the luxury EV sedan battle.
Often pronounced in the same sentence along with the Model S and Porsche Taycan, the Lucid Air captures the imagination of transportation futurists and venture capitalists looking for the next ‘biggest thing’.
In that spirit, we thought we’d put together a highlight list of nine things you need to know about the Lucid Air.
1. What is the 2022 Lucid Air?
The 2022 Lucid Air is an all-electric luxury sedan. As of now, the Air is Lucid Motors’ only model. Lucid presents the Air in four classes: Pure, Touring, Grand Touring and Grand Touring Performance. Lucid did offer a fifth limited-run Dream Edition. However, the entire 2022 run was sold out.
About the size of the Tesla Model S, the Air is a full-size sedan that seats five passengers. The base model has one electric motor and rear-wheel drive (RWD). The rest of the lineup comes with two motors and four-wheel drive (AWD). Each Air includes three years of free charging through the Electrify America network.
2. Who makes the 2022 Lucid Air?
The brainchild of a pair of former Tesla executives, Atieva popped up in Silicon Valley in 2007. Initially established to develop and market power packs to third-party vehicle manufacturers, Atieva supplied battery packs to vehicles ranging from motorcycles to buses. Over the next six years, the reliability, range and efficiency of the Atieva battery packs grew, as did the company’s ambitions. By the end of 2013, the focus shifted from producing battery packs to developing and engineering a platform to demonstrate its core battery system. In other words, build an EV.
While developing the battery packs remained Atieva’s primary mission, management began to come up with plans to move from a battery pack supplier to an EV manufacturer. By this time, another Tesla refugee, Peter Rawlinson, had also joined Ateva. He was the chief engineer for the Model S. Atieva closed the first fundraising round to create a prototype in 2014. Over the next 18 months, Atieva expanded its ranks to include designers, software experts and engineers and began building a prototype.
Meanwhile, in October 2016, Atieva joined a Lucid Motors reorganization. Shortly after, the automaker unveiled its Air prototype for the first time. Rawlinson, now the CTO, would take over as CEO in 2019. Shortly after the 2016 reorganization, the company drew up plans to build a car factory in Arizona. The company announced the completion of Phase 1 of that plant at the end of 2020. The first Lucid Air models rolled off the assembly line in October 2021.
3. When will the 2022 Lucid Air go on sale?
The limited-run Air Dream Edition was launched at the end of 2021 and sold out immediately. Currently, the only trim levels available are Grand Touring and Grand Touring Performance. While you can now order the entry-level Pure or the next higher-end Touring class, Lucid won’t ship them until Q4 2022.
4. What is the maximum range of the Lucid Air?
Range varies depending on trim level. The RWD Pure and the AWD Touring deliver up to 406 miles on a full charge. Adding more than 100 miles of maximum range to the Touring, the Grand Touring can go up to 516 miles — claiming the top spot on the longest-distance list. Opting for the Grand Touring Performance drops the range back to up to 446 miles.
5. How fast is the Lucid Air?
Before disappearing from the Air order list, the Dream Edition was the fastest among the ranks. With up to 1,111 horsepower, it could go from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in just 2.5 seconds. Top speed was 168 miles per hour. The fastest honor now goes to the 1,050 hp Grand Touring Performance. The 0-60 sprint takes about 2.6 seconds. With 819 hp, the Grand Touring reaches 100 km/h from standstill in 3.0 seconds. Lucid has not published 0-60 numbers for the Pure of Touring. However, the Pure generates 480 hp, while the Touring produces 620 hp. We doubt its slackers in the run up to 60 mph.
6. How much does charging the Lucid Air cost?
The cost of charging a Lucid Air depends on many factors. Some experts have estimated that it costs $16.80 to charge an Air Grand Touring (the current top-of-the-line version) with a battery capacity of 112 kWh.
With 19-inch wheels, it consumes electricity at a rate of 0.26 kWh per mile. That number jumps to 0.28 kWh per mile with 21-inch wheels. Based on a cost of $0.15 per kWh, each mile you drive with an Air Grand Touring will cost about $0.04.
With a 350 kW DC fast charger you can charge from 20% to 80% in just over 31 minutes. It takes 83 minutes to get from 0% to 100%. Going from 0% to 100% with a 240 volt system takes about 13 hours.
The good news is that the base price of the Air includes three years of free charging at any 350 kW charging station from Electrify America.
7. How much does the Lucid Air cost?
Lucid currently supplies the 2022 Grand Touring ($154,000) and the 2022 Grand Touring Performance ($179,000). You can pre-order the RWD Pure ($87,400), the AWD Pure ($92,900), and the Touring ($107,400). Lucid estimates that delivery of the Pure and Touring will begin by the end of the year. At the time of writing, Lucid Air models qualify for a $7,500 tax credit from the government.
8. Is the Lucid Air better than the Tesla Model S?
If and when the Air Pure is available it will be cheaper than the $104,990 base model S. Even in its AWD form, the Pure will be $12,090 less than the AWD model S. The range of these base models is essentially the same – 406 miles versus 405 miles.
Comparing the Air Grand Touring to the Model S Plaid, the Grand Touring is more expensive at $154,000 than the Model S Plaid at $135,990. With its maximum range of 516 miles, the Grand Touring wins the day over the Model S Plaid’s estimated range of 348 miles. As for thrust, the Model S claims a 0-60 time of 1.9 seconds, while the Air Grand Touring does that sprint in 3.0 seconds.
9. Is the 2022 Lucid Air Right for You?
When you start shopping for a car in the $100,000 range, needs have less to do with decision making than wants. Representing the latest shiny thing, the Air fits nicely into the lifestyle of those who have to be the first with whatever the latest technology is. When money is of little or no importance, it makes perfect sense to queue up to own the latest luxury EV. With the air, you also have the right to brag about the longest range of all current EVs. Only you can determine if that’s worth $154,000 to you.