2021 Lucid Air First Look: Rarified EV Air

2021 Lucid Air First Look: Rarified EV Air

The normal temperature in Los Angeles on this particular date is 84 degrees Fahrenheit. His record was 102, set in 1955. Today it is 111 (with 121 degrees recorded elsewhere in LA County). Call it the local warning of global warming.

When my home was built, its location one mile from the Pacific Ocean meant you didn’t need air conditioning to stay comfortable. With the indoor squats at Starbucks and in a sweaty panic, I climbed into the spacious, air-conditioned back seat of an SUV in the aisle to recount my introduction to the Lucid Air 2021 zero-emission electric sedan. Life is the theater of the absurd.


It seems that humans are just 7.8 billion frogs wearing jeans and T-shirts in a planet-sized pot in a warm atmosphere, who continue to forget what the real point of electric cars is, like Air. To be fair, most cars don’t have more suction than moving around without breaking down. And it is only after that that we see these contraptions as a way to embark on a strange adventure, in a technical way or two, or as an extension of our personal fashion, our musical tastes or our cologne perfume. . Be honest.

And the Lucid Air has more than its share of those things, too. Is it more / better / cooler than Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S? Keep reading, because Lucid has a great story.

2021 Lucid Air: a taste of Tesla

For example, the Air carries a pedigree. Meet Lucid CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson – a Welshman and the spirit behind this machine. After terms as Senior Engineer at Jaguar and Chief Engineer at Lotus (he calls himself a Lotus Man), he got a call from Elon Musk to come to California. The Model S had already been fashioned by Franz von Holzhausen, but it needed an electric transmission. At first, Rawlinson wasn’t sure it would all work out, but as the math started to add up and the components started to fit, his whole view of the automobile changed. The Model S quickly won over critics and became the first electric car to be named MotorTrend Car of the year.

Rawlinson’s conditions for returning to the mad house of EV startups – in this case, what was then called Atieva in Mountain View, Calif. – were simple: allow him to build his dream car. His baby. He knew the Model S was faulty. In particular, it missed a yawning opportunity to miniaturize its components and perfect their integration into a form that could maximize space and efficiency.

The response from its engineering team was to raise the vehicle’s system voltage to 900 volts to significantly reduce components. The Air would be defined by its “Space Concept” – rooting the miniaturized drivetrain in places people and cargo wouldn’t want to be. Nonetheless, each unit of power – motor, inverter, and transmission – has the potential to produce 670 horsepower and 2,950 lb-ft of torque. Still, they weigh about the same as an easy bench press: 161 pounds. Combined, the front and rear engines will be limited in running to a “single” 1,080 hp. The battery, which was originally rated at 130 kWh, has been reduced to 113 kWh, continuously reducing more efficiency to everything.

2021 Lucid Air: Design Dreams

Bringing Art to Science Rawlinson is another prominent player, former Mazda chief designer Derek Jenkins, whose talent you can judge by the current Miata. The cool Air Sedan spaceship he created will soak up your looks as long as you want to keep looking. It’s a rolling sculpture that’s sort of both immediate and timeless, and there’s no hyperbole in describing it as literally art and science.

Jenkins was influenced by his fondness for the brushed alloy C-pillars of Citroën DS cars of the 1950s and his penchant for the brushed stainless steel of the DeLorean. (Air’s panoramic glass ceiling is supported by brushed aluminum.)

Inside, it looks like every piece priced at $ 169,000 and up from the initial Air Dream Edition, with an anti-minimalist, anti-Model S interior full of Bauhaus-meets-Berkeley sculptural complexity. A slim, wraparound digital display appears in the driver’s line of sight, perched atop a drawout rod for later upgrade. “I’m not a fan of ever-larger screens,” Jenkins sighs.

The screens are divided into three areas: driving data in the center, touch-sensitive lighting controls on the left, infotainment on the right. Want to learn more? Information can be swiped down and expanded on a lower shelf in the center console for both front occupants to explore. “My test is that I want my mom to be able to come in here and figure it all out,” Jenkins says.

2021 Lucid Air: big price, big practice

To those who are stunned by the price of the sticker, be patient. Like most automakers, Lucid pushes the most powerful models first. As the volume increases, cheaper models will follow. By 2022, Lucid will offer an Air for less than $ 80,000, which will then drop below $ 72,500 after the federal tax credit. This puts him face to face with the Tesla Model S.

Then there’s its performance: a Tesla crushing range that has been independently measured at 517 miles, which, if it holds up on EPA test equipment, is 115 miles further than the Model S. Long Range Plus. After covering 450 miles on a demo ride (which eventually reached 490 miles), I agree with Rawlinson’s claim that it “turns range anxiety into comfort of range” . Our concern was not about having to stop too early (or often) to reload, but whether we could mentally endure the seemingly endless driving.

But Lucid Air isn’t just about reach. Its 1080 horsepower combined can hit 60 mph in under 2.5 seconds and hit the quarter mile in 9.9. Still, it can charge up to 300 miles in 20 minutes at a 350 kW Electrify America station – another number topping the charts.

Then there’s all the supporting technology: built into the nose of the Lucid Air 2021, a lidar unit – placed in anticipation of increased levels of autonomous assistance. Underneath is a remarkable low resistance air intake for transmission cooling. Air slots in front of the front wheels send a curtain of air around the wheel openings. The underbody sweeps upward with unusual grace, helping the Air disrupt the passing wind with a drag coefficient of just 0.21, the lowest in the world (since the GM EV1).

Which begs the question: Was Audi, BMW and Mercedes’ Tesla-focused war foot targeting the wrong electric car?

Musk’s 2016 “Master Plan, Part Two” – the work plan for the entire effort – was to start with a high-end, high-priced, low-volume platform (the Model S and Model X) to subsidize a low and medium cost platform. volume configuration (model 3 and model Y).

Originally, these profits were to be invested in an even cheaper and larger car. But that has been crossed out, as Musk believes it will be the Model 3 as well, once full autonomous driving technology arrives, and its magic too. (There is also mentioned a pickup truck, which we now know as the Cybertruck, and a commuter minibus which has gone a little quiet.)

The point is, while Tesla is seen and feared as a premium brand, its ultimate intention is to fire a cannonball into the depths of the pool where big fish like GM, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen swim. While Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Jaguar are still trying to grab the Model S, their sights are aimed at the wrong car.

The most important figure cited by Peter Rawlinson is the efficiency of Air, which he estimates to be 20% higher than that of any electric vehicle in the world. Crazy acceleration and range numbers aside, the real point of an electric car is efficiency: being powered by electricity and using as little electricity as possible to make as many movements as possible. I also hope with grace and beauty.

Overheating Earth, meet Air Lucide.

The first look at Lucid Air after 2021: Rarified EV Air first appeared on MotorTrend.

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