Driving report lucid air: a breath of fresh air in the electric top house

The Lucid Air is something like the top trump in the quartet of electric luxury sedans.

A fresh wind is blowing through the electrified luxury class – and is blowing in the face of Tesla boss Elon Musk or Daimler board member Ola Kallenius: Because with its electric debut Air, the start-up Lucid is primarily targeting Model S and EQS.

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It is something like the top trump in the quartet of electric luxury sedans. Since the American start-up Lucid began delivering the Air in October, Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQS have been second choice at best, not to mention the Porsche Taycan and its twin Audi e-tron GT. Finally, the sleek gem with the flowing lines not only flaunts a crazy 1.111 hp and more than 1.000 Nm of torque, at least for the first edition; thanks to its 118 kWh batteries, the initially 169.In addition, the five-seater, which costs $ 000, has by far the longest range ever certified by the American authorities: 520 miles or 837 kilometers, according to the EPA, giving the Air a lead of more than 100 miles over the Model S (405 miles) or the Mercedes EQS (350 miles).

Rechargeable batteries are used as exclusive power storage in Formula E

The man behind the ambitious project is the former chief engineer of the Model S: Peter Rawlinson left Tesla in 2012, is now emerging as the biggest challenger to Elon Musk and is attacking his former boss with his own weapons: Because even though the Air uses a skateboard platform like all its competitors, Lucid builds analogous to Tesla but unlike Mercedes& Co on its own components: The engine, at 74 kilos one of the lightest in this league and yet powerful up to 650 hp, was developed and produced by the Americans themselves. And their own rechargeable batteries, with an operating voltage of 900 volts and a maximum charging power of 350 kW, are also at the forefront and, in the best case, can be refilled with electricity for almost 500 kilometers within 20 minutes.

Lucid has packaged the whole thing in a design that more than lives up to the Air name. One reason is that the body has an exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.21. And secondly, because the car appears extremely airy inside: Although its 4.98 meters are only about as long as an E-Class, it offers more space in the rear than an S-Class and is also superior to its electric competitors from Germany. In addition, there’s over 450 liters of storage space in the rear and more than 200 liters in the front, giving the driver a whole new perspective. No, not just because Lucid has found its own balance of buttons and touchscreens, craftsmanship and Hollywood in the cockpit. But above all because the windshield extends far into the roof, as was the case with the Opel Astra GTC back then, and thus additionally supports the airy impression.

Lucid Air (standard/2021)

But you can only enjoy the Lucid Air for the first few meters when you drive through the usual traffic jam out of Hollywood and down towards Malibu. Because as soon as it reaches the bottom of the Pacific Coast Highway, the Lucid beckons with its power and strides out so powerfully that it’s better to keep your eyes on the road: If you can accelerate from 0 to 100 in well under three seconds and then up to 270 without even the slightest let-up, you’d better watch out for the ubiquitous cops- or change from the highway to the byways. There are more than enough of them in the Hollywood Hills.

And even there the the Lucid to surprise. For a car of its size and without any frills such as air suspension or rear-axle steering, the Stromer feels surprisingly handy and agile in the narrow canyons and is committed to storming the passes. No, even though Peter Rawlins used to be with Lotus, it’s no comparison to the Elise, even if you switch through the three driving profiles all the way to the back. But the Air is closer to a BMW M5 than the EQS even in the AMG version and even as a Taycan driver you should look carefully in the rear view mirror.

Limited number of units

Whereby this experience is literally limited. Lucid will only build 520 Dream Edition models, and not all of them will have the performance powertrain. After that there are three versions: The base for 79.000 dollars with a 480 hp engine in the rear and 406 miles of range, the 95.000 Dollar Touring with 620 hp all-wheel drive and 406 miles range, as well as the permanent top model, the Grand Touring, which can be ordered for 139.000 dollars with 800 hp and 516 miles pushes into pole position.

At first glance, everything seems to be going according to plan for Rawlinson and his Lucid. The Dream Edition has long since sold out, with the regular models reportedly going for more than $10.000 pre-orders, the start in Europe is also on the calendar with a first showroom in Munich this year. And the stock market players are apparently also satisfied and have valued the company at around 60 billion dollars at the time of its debut on Wall Street to almost as much as BMW or Daimler. In the meantime, the securities watchdogs have taken a closer look, and the Americans now have to prove that they can make the leap from start-up to series manufacturer. It’s not for nothing that the Arizona plant is set to produce 90,000 cars a year in the medium term.000 cars in the medium term. But they do not lack confidence. On the contrary: while the Air hasn’t really taken off yet, they’re already planning the second model series and with it even larger numbers: In as little as a year, an SUV called Gravity is expected to give the brand additional traction.

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