Founded in 2007, Lucid Motors was originally called Atieva and focused on the development of electric car battery technology. A pivot to build electric cars prompted the name change in 2016 and a headquarters move from New Jersey to Silicon Valley.
Lucid Motors plans to give Tesla a run for its money, positioning the Lucid Air sedan to go head-to-head with Tesla’s Model S. Not surprising since Peter Rawlinson, formerly chief engineer of Tesla’s Model S, is leading the development of the Air.
The rivalry between the companies doesn’t stop with just former employees. The Saudi Arabian Kingdom’s investment fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF), injected a $1 billion dollar infusion of cash into Lucid. The investment allowed the company to finally build their proposed Arizona factory and put the Air into production. PIF also owns a 5% stake in Tesla, which Elon Musk tried and failed to take private late last year. That deal partially relied on PIF.
So let’s see how the Lucid Air actually stacks up against the Tesla Model S. The Air offers the most rear seat legroom in its class, seating up to three adults. You can upgrade to Executive Rear Seating, two individual seats inspired by an executive jet, and recline to a relaxing 55 degrees so you can stretch out and get comfortable. Tesla’s rear seating doesn’t have anything similar to offer for backseat passengers.
A Lucid Difference
The Air also beats the Model S, boasting up to a 400-mile range between charges on higher end models, and a hair-raising 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds. With a high-end range of 335, the Model S runs out of juice before the Air. That 65-mile difference is significant, especially on longer road trips when you want to make it as close to your destination as you can on one charge.
Even though practically no one tests a car’s top speeds on the open road, it’s a selling point and appeals to the ego of owners. With that said, the Air trounces the Model S with a reported top speed of 200mph. The Tesla seems like a slowpoke with an electronically governed 155mph.
Price of Entry
Price is usually a factor when purchasing a car, unless you’re one of the lucky people where money is no object. Sadly, I’m in the former category. You have to dig pretty deep into your wallet just to open the door on a Model S. Right now, it’s $76,000, but an announced price increase will bring it to $94,000. The Air starts at $60,000 which is 36% less than Model S. At that price point, the Air looks to be a great value proposition—even without the Federal Tax Incentive. That brings the base price down to a $52,000. Very attractive indeed.
If you’re now thoroughly convinced to check out the Air, you’re going to have to wait until 2020. Hopefully, Lucid will make this promised delivery. They have been somewhat of a tease, announcing the Air would be available in the fourth quarter of 2018 and then moved their target until the first half of 2019. You can, however, reserve one for yourself for $2500 on their website. I think I’m going to head on over there now.