On Wednesday Lucid Motors unveiled the production version of its first electric vehicle. It goes into production this year with deliveries starting in Q2 2021 and uses Formula E-proven battery tech to achieve a range of 517 miles (813km) with a 113kWh pack. Despite a steady drip-feed of Air-related news over the past few months, until now we’ve been in the dark regarding important facts like how expensive it is, how powerful it is, and how fast it can go. The answer to all three of those—at least for the first year of production—is very.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: the Lucid Air is not going to be cheap. When we first met Lucid in 2017, it was hoping that the entry-level Air would cost $60,000. Unfortunately that won’t be the case—now the company says “below $80,000” before tax credits for the cheapest version, which won’t arrive until 2022. But no carmaker kicks off a new model with stripped-down economy versions; whether you’re Tesla or Porsche, you bring out the big guns first.
The biggest gun here is the Air Dream Edition. And I do mean big: 1,080hp (805kW), zero to 60mph (97km/h) in 2.5 seconds, the standing quarter-mile (402m) in 9.9 seconds (at 144mph/231km/h), and a price tag to match at $169,000 (or $161,500 once you file your tax return and claim the IRC 30D credit). The tradeoff for so much power and speed is a slight range hit, but fear not, the Air Dream Edition will still take you far on a single charge, with an estimated EPA range of 503 miles (810km) on 19-inch wheels, or 465 miles (748km) if it’s wearing 21-inch alloys instead.
The other alternative for early adopters is the Air Grand Touring, which is the one that long-distance trumpet haulers will want. The Grand Touring’s battery only has to power 800hp (597kW) from the Air’s front and rear electric motors, and so this variant is slightly slower (3 seconds 0-60mph, 10.8 seconds for the 1.4 mile) but has the longest legs (the aforementioned 517 miles). But this one still isn’t cheap, with a base price of $139,000 before tax incentives.
In late 2021, the Air Touring goes on sale at $95,000 (before credits). With “only” 620hp (462kW), at 3.2 seconds this one is only as quick as a McLaren F1 in the dash to 60mph. (The McLaren F1-rivaling top speed of the prototype Air remains the preserve of the test driver, with Dream Editions and Grand Tourings restricted to 168mph/270km/h, and the Touring to 155mph/250km/h.) Range for this version of the Air is estimated at 402 miles (647km)—equal to the current Tesla Model S—which suggests it might use a slightly smaller battery pack.
The final variant that has been officially announced is the regular Air. But other than the price (sub-$80,000) and its estimated arrival (2022) the only other concrete fact we have from Lucid is that, like the more expensive versions, it, too, will be able to add 300 miles (482km) of range in 20 minutes when connected to a 350kW DC fast charger. Like many existing OEMs with new battery EVs on the market or due to arrive shortly, Lucid has partnered with Electrify America, and owners will get three years of free DC fast charging.
In fact, Lucid has at least one more Air in the works, one that will use three (rather than two) electric motors. All we really know about this version is that at the drag strip it will run a quarter-mile in 9.3 seconds, which makes it even quicker than Jonny Smith’s Flux Capacitor, which set a world record in 2016 as the quickest street-legal EV at 9.8 seconds.
Listing image by Lucid Motors