The Lucid Air rivals Tesla in terms of technological flair, but not in terms of practicality
By all accounts, Tesla is certainly a tough act to follow. From its founding in 2008 to December 2016 it sold over 168,000 cars and installed 4,428 charging points globally. Every day another story about Tesla pops up, while rival start-ups such as Lucid and Faraday Future remain somewhat in the company’s shadow.
These firms are eager enough to make small innovations and criticisms, but lack the gusto and reputation to take larger steps themselves – at least for now.
Since the launch of the Lucid Air last month, Electrans is yet to be convinced of the viability of this car as, in Zak Edson’s words, “the beginning of an absolute automotive revolution”. In fact, what began as an exciting presentation made us slump back in our seats, as we were introduced to another – perhaps smaller and comfier – sedan.
However, Lucid did hit the nail on the head with one criticism of the EV car industry. As battery costs decrease, as energy density goes up, and as EVs begin to be produced on a mass scale, car makers’ excuses as to why EVs are so expensive will become feeble and insubstantial.
Every other car maker seems hell-bent on creating cars which are, of course, more technologically advanced and go from 0-60 faster, but fail to meet the demands of the market. According to Lucid, these companies are stuck in the past.
From boiling to lukewarm
Unfortunately, after this exciting introduction there was no clear message in the presentation towards what Lucid is planning on doing about this. With only indications of a price range, we are left to guess at how much a car with up to 400-mile range, a 100 kWh battery, 1000 horsepower, and an “epicyclic spur system” will cost when it is brought out in 2019. At the moment, the Lucid Motors Air has set a base price of US$65,000. However, with optional extras this could climb to US$100,000.
The Tesla Model S P100D currently costs US$137,800 – well into a price bracket that could only be described as “luxury.”
To give the company credit, since Electrans reported on its launch in October 2016, it has made significant steps in its development cycle. A start-up made up of just 300 people has taken on the name change and successfully created a prototype of a car fit to rival Tesla.
The former chief engineer of Tesla and Lotus and former principal engineer at Jaguar, Peter Rawlinson, has joined the team with 30 patents and has made some incredible changes to the structure of the battery pack and other parts of the car to allow for more comfort and a better driving experience:
But they still fail to really excite us – promises that they will be different from other “stagnant” car manufacturers will only be proven with time, and most importantly with price. By making a car which is designed for normal people in mind, which is easy to share, we could have less cars on the road and in car parks at lower prices. This could be the way in which EV use becomes a norm and not a novelty.