Lucid has begun production of the long-awaited Air sedan in Arizona this week, fielding a competitor destined to be endlessly compared to the Tesla Model S and Mercedes-AMG EQS. The first examples rolled off the production line earlier this week, with deliveries scheduled to begin at the end of next month. The luxury sedan promises a range of up to 520 miles courtesy of a 113-kWh battery—the most range offered by any EV at the moment.
Lucid will first focus on producing 520 examples of the Air Dream Edition, 500 of which had all been reserved for a while now, including the Air Dream Edition Performance with 1111 hp on tap and 471 miles of range. So there is definitely a range and horsepower war that’s unfolding at the moment, with Lucid aiming to ward off challengers with generous helpings of both. The Air Dream Edition Range, meanwhile, will serve up the top 520-mile EPA-rated marathons.
In total, Lucid has over 13,000 reservations for the Air to work through at the moment, which will also include the third Grand Touring version of the sedan.
“The proprietary EV technology that Lucid has developed will make it possible to travel more miles using less battery energy. For example, our Lucid Air Grand Touring has an official EPA rating of 516 miles of range with a 112-kWh battery pack, giving it an industry-leading efficiency of 4.6 miles per kWh. Our technology will allow for increasingly lighter, more efficient, and less expensive EVs, and today represents a major step in our journey to expand the accessibility of more sustainable transportation,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO, Lucid Group. “I’m delighted that production cars endowed with this level of efficiency are currently driving off our factory line.”
The start of production has also served as a showcase for Lucid Motors’ Advanced Manufacturing Plant (AMP-1) and the Lucid Powertrain Manufacturing (LPM-1) plants in Casa Grande, Arizona, with the governor of the state in attendance. Lucid points out that it completed construction of AMP-1 in less than a year, with the plant also claiming the title of the first “greenfield” EV factory to be built in North America, as all others had been repurposed, existing facilities.
The Lucid Air will arrive in a market still dominated by Tesla, and as such it will test the appetites of deep-pocketed buyers for EVs from a brand that’s just getting started.
Speaking of deep pockets, the least expensive versions of the sedan start at $139,000 before incentives and destination charges, so it’s not lost on industry observers that the Lucid Air is an EV for the millionaire, early-adopter demographic, and has arrived roughly a decade after Tesla Model S has offered something quite similar in aim. Lucid’s first model off the line is notably not some small electric hatch or crossover priced around $30,000, which is the direction a number of automakers are headed at the moment, but rather something priced above the most expensive versions of the Model S. One of the longer-term issues with this approach, as a number of industry observers have pointed out, is that those who wanted to spend well over $100,000 on an electric sedan have already bought a Model S years ago, and buyers in that segment will be able to order a Mercedes EQS, including the AMG version, in addition to alternatives from Porsche and Audi as well.
It may have certainly taken Lucid Motors a while to begin production of its luxury sedan, but in that time the world of EVs has changed as well. Lucid’s next model, an SUV dubbed Gravity, is expected to arrive in 2023 to battle the competition that’s expanding even faster than that among electric sedans.
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