Tesla Model S, Lucid Air and Mercedes-Benz EQS Compared

Tesla Model S, Lucid Air and Mercedes-Benz EQS Compared

Three big EV sedans go toe to toe to toe (on paper)

There won't be a day where you wake up and suddenly everyone's driving an electric vehicle. The shift toward EVs will be a gradual one, but there's no doubt the transition has already begun. Tesla has enjoyed a major lead on established manufacturers since it kick-started the revolution about a decade ago with the Model S. But that large sedan now has some serious competition from two manufacturers — one an old-school automaker and the other an upstart headquartered in Tesla's back yard.

If you're considering buying a super-EV, comparing them on paper is the quickest way to figure out which one's best for you. To help you do that, we've rounded up all the relevant info on the Tesla Model S, along with its newest competitors, the Mercedes-Benz EQS and Lucid Air.

It's worth noting that we're going to primarily focus on the flagship versions of each EV so we can judge the best of what each automaker has to offer.

How do they compare on range?

The long-standing king of EV range was the Tesla Model S, but it has recently been usurped by the new kid on the block: the Lucid Air. The top-spec Air Dream Edition comes in two flavors: R and P — for Range and Performance, respectively. The R model can deliver a staggering 520 miles of range on a single charge, while the P version will be able to travel up to 471 miles on a full charge. The Tesla Model S Plaid isn't exactly about range, it's about world-beating performance. Even so, the Plaid will get up to 396 miles of range with its 19-inch wheel and tire package. Buyers willing to sacrifice some performance can also select the non-Plaid Model S, though range increases only slightly, to 405 miles.

The Mercedes EQS' range hasn't been verified by the EPA just yet. We know that on the European WLTP cycle (which almost always leads to more generous range estimates than the EPA's testing cycle), the midtier EQS 580 4Matic will deliver 420 miles on a single charge. We wouldn't be surprised if this figure dips slightly below 400 miles of range once the EPA evaluates one. Range quotes for the top-spec AMG EQS, which will debut a little later down the line, have not been published just yet.

What about power?

The Model S Plaid is the quickest car Edmunds has ever tested. Its three electric motors combine to make a staggering 1,020 horsepower, enough to launch it from zero to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds.

The Lucid Air Dream Edition Range is how you get the headline-grabbing 520 miles of, well, range. It makes a robust 933 horsepower, but that isn't enough to trouble the Plaid. If you don't mind sacrificing some range for all-out punch, you'll need the Lucid Air Dream Edition Performance. The motors produce a total of 1,111 horsepower; this is quite a bit more than the Tesla, but Lucid quotes a slightly slower 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds.

We know that the AMG EQS will produce 649 horsepower — or up to 751 hp with an optional overboost function. It is estimated to zip from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. But since important stats like range and pricing aren't available yet, we aren't using it for this comparison. The EQS 580 4Matic, however, makes a healthy 516 horsepower and 611 lb-ft of torque. It's still enough to get you out of bed in the morning, but Mercedes' estimated 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds will have you handing the pinks if you're racing for keeps. 

Down to dollars and cents

Perhaps the most important number when it comes to any of these EVs is how big a hole they're going to burn in your pocket when it comes time to sign the dotted line. The Air is by far the most expensive of the three and costs $169,000 in Dream Edition spec. Both the Performance and Range versions cost the same, so which one you get comes down to personal preference.

The EQS is less expensive than the Lucid, but it isn't exactly cheap. The fully loaded 580 4Matic Pinnacle models cost a hefty $126,360, right on par with the Model S Plaid. The Tesla might go from 0 to 60 in just 2.3 seconds, but it can drain your wallet even quicker. The Plaid starts at $129,990, and that's before you add in the $10,000 option for Tesla's highly touted Full Self-Driving Capability feature.

Edmunds says

Buyers looking for their next high-end EV have a lot more choices than the previous Model S default. It's hard to argue with the Tesla's world-beating performance, but some rivals offer a more attractive price point or better range. 

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