2021 Lucid Air
- $169,000 (estimated)
- Spring 2021
What to expect
- First vehicle launched by startup automaker Lucid
- More than 1,000 horsepower from dual electric motors
- Claimed 500-plus miles of range on a single charge
- Kicks off the first Air generation launched for 2021
What is the Air?
The 2021 Lucid Air is the debut vehicle from American EV startup Lucid Motors. Taking a page out of Tesla's playbook, Lucid is launching its brand with a high-end luxury sedan boasting eye-popping performance and range numbers. The Air is also equipped with interesting new tech, such as two-way charging that allows you to use the car as a battery for your house. The Lucid Air serves as a hotbed of new ideas, and we can't wait to try them for ourselves. We expect the Air to be released in the spring of 2021.
What's under the Air's hood?
As with many electric vehicles, the 2021 Lucid Air's powertrain is housed below the passenger compartment. The battery packs — which provide up to 113 kWh of capacity — are arranged side by side and span the length between the front and rear wheels. The initial launch version of the Lucid Air, dubbed the Dream Edition, will come in a dual-motor configuration that allows for all-wheel drive. Each motor can produce a staggering 650 horsepower, with the dual-motor version capping output at a combined 1,080 hp. Lucid plans to offer single- and tri-motor configurations (with two motors in the rear) in the future.
Lucid says the Air in the Dream Edition configuration will hit 0-60 mph in just 2.5 seconds and pass the quarter-mile in a hair under 10 seconds. If these performance numbers are accurate, the Air would be one of the quickest production cars in the world.
What's the Air's range like?
Lucid sent shockwaves through the EV world when it announced the Air's range will be 517 miles on a single charge. Though not verified by the EPA, the range test was conducted using EPA standards, so the final figure is likely to be similar. The Air's battery pack offers 13 kWh more capacity than the top-spec Model S, while claimed efficiencies in the powertrain's construction account for the remainder of the gains versus the Tesla's max range of 402 miles.
All EVs with a high-capacity battery pack can tap into the growing network of DC fast-charging stations, and the Air is no different. Because most electric vehicles with DC ports use a 400-volt architecture, they can't take full advantage of the newest generation of chargers. By contrast, the Air uses a 900-volt system, making it one of just a few vehicles that can tap into nearly the full 350-kW charging rate promised by the newest Electrify America stations.
This capability allows the Air to recharge at up to 20 miles per minute using these stations, depending on certain factors such as the car's state of charge. That's great for road trips. For home use, the Air's 19.2-kW onboard AC charger ensures charging at home won't take too long either. Level 2 charging, Lucid says, can add up to 80 miles of range per hour.
The Lucid at-home charging station is unique in that it can also draw power from the Air and pump it back to your house. This essentially turns the car into a battery, so if there's a blackout at your house, you can tap into your car's stored electricity. Lucid also envisions lower bills for owners. The idea is that you charge your car at night when electricity is cheap, then use it to run your house in the afternoon when rates are higher. It's an intriguing concept, and one that further separates the Air from other EVs on sale.
How's the Air's interior?
Like many new EVs and luxury vehicles, the Lucid Air has a screen-heavy interior that features few physical controls. A volume knob and basic climate controls are sandwiched between two touchscreens — the upper is the primary infotainment screen and is part of the instrument panel cluster, while the lower offers more in-depth control of the climate system. You can also swipe information from the upper screen to the lower if you want more real estate to navigate through the menus.
Lucid is positioning the Air as a midsize car with the interior space of a full-size. From our time with the vehicle, it feels more like the Model S, which strikes a balance between those two classes in terms of room. The back seat isn't as spacious as what you'll find on a Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 Series, and the sloping roofline cuts into headroom somewhat. The rear seats also feel a little close to the floor — a result of four battery packs that reside below that section of the floor. These four packs will be removed with future models with less range (and lower price tags), creating a recessed floor with more vertical room.
The Dream Edition will launch in a five-seat configuration, though later models will be available in a four-seat layout with a control panel in the rear. This is how you'll configure your Air if you want lounging rear seats with power adjustment.
How's the Air's tech?
The Air will come standard with a full suite of advanced driving aids that Lucid calls DreamDrive. It includes such features as adaptive cruise control, lane centering and automatic parking. These are all par for the course for luxury vehicles currently, but Lucid is also equipping the Air with future-proofing hardware including high-resolution lidar. The idea is that once the software is finalized, Lucid will beam over-the-air updates to enhance the car's automated driving capabilities. Lucid is aiming for the Air to achieve Level 3 autonomy during the Air's life cycle. Level 3 means the car can perform automated driving but the driver must be ready, with warning, to take over at all times.
How's the Air's storage?
The concept of space maximization extends to the Air's cargo-carrying capabilities. The front trunk is absolutely massive, with a false floor to separate your gear and keep items from rolling around. The traditional trunk is also quite large, though the car's low ride height means you'll likely have to bend over to place items inside.
Lucid is the newest auto manufacturer on the block, and its introductory sedan is nothing if not impressive. An EV with a Mercedes-like interior and the acceleration of a Bugatti Chiron? Sign us up!