Many start-ups have recently promised to reinvent the car.
Unlike Byton or Faraday Future, Lucid Air has not faltered so far.
At the end of the year, the first aircraft are scheduled to roll on American highways and the first Lucid Air will arrive in Europe in mid-2022.
The electric luxury model should also have a chance in Germany.
Chief designer Derek Jenkins walks with springy steps into the parking lot of the Monterey hotel on California's Pacific coast. He has had busy days because the car festival around Pebble Beach is extremely important for the American start-up of electric cars. At the event “The Quail”, probably the most exclusive car event in the world, he presented the Lucid Air to more than 3000 well-heeled car fans. “The feedback was excellent. We are satisfied, ”says the chief designer. “Our starter model, the particularly exclusive Dream Edition with around 500 vehicles, is already sold out.” The Lucid Air is 1080 hp, has a top speed of 270 km / h and is supposed to achieve ranges of up to 750 kilometers. All of this has its price: prospective buyers have to bring $ 170,000 with them.
To get to know each other for the first time, Jenkins shows us a model of the mid-level Grand Touring equipment variant. There is 800 PS and the promise of more than 650 kilometers of electric range. With a length of 4.97 meters, the Air ranks at the level of an Audi A6 or a 5-series BMW, but with a wheelbase of 2.90 meters it offers as much space as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. If you don't want to opt for the expensive versions for 130,000 or 170,000 dollars, you can also use the basic versions, which offer 480 and 620 hp and supposedly a range of around 600 kilometers. You'd be there with $ 80,000.
Lucid is headquartered in Newark, not far from the Tesla manufacturing facility in Fremont in the Bay Area of California. The electric sedan and an electric SUV planned for 2023 will be produced around an hour south of the city of Phoenix in Arizona. It is said that 12,000 vehicles are currently pre-ordered and paid for. After some delays due to the corona pandemic, deliveries are to begin in November before they are to go to Europe in the middle of next year and later to the United Emirates. Only then is the expansion to China - with its own production facility there - to avoid high punitive tariffs.
The test car turns off the hotel parking lot and drives through Monterey towards the expressway. The road is cracked and the deep potholes are typical of the ailing road network. But even without air suspension, the 2.3 ton Lucid Air irons out the bumps quite easily. “With a start-up company like us, you're always a bit more than just a designer, of course,” says Jenkins, describing his role. One is particularly closely involved in the development. “We don't need a head-up display here, everything is perfectly in view.” The 34-inch instruments, slightly curved around the driver, are reminiscent of those of the Porsche Taycan. Most of the functions can be controlled via a large touchscreen in the center console, which, however, can be moved into the dashboard if desired, revealing large storage spaces underneath.This looks just as chic as it is practically resolved. The rest of the functions are carried out by voice or the rotary control on the steering wheel.
When a free stretch of road finally emerges, the 800 hp briefly show what they're made of. The start is as brutal as you know it from many powerful electric cars. It's hard to believe that the 1080 PS variant should accelerate even wilder. Here, the sprint from 0 to 100 km / h should be completed in less than three seconds. "But the range is the most important thing for us," Jenkins emphasizes. That's why the Lucid Air has a drag coefficient of 0.21. With 800 volt technology, it should take less than 20 minutes to get the 113 kWh battery pack ready for the next 450 kilometers. If you reserve a copy this year, you should be able to load it free of charge for at least three years in the United States.
Inside, the Air offers luxury and a touch of Scandinavian simplicity. Leather, woods and wool, everything feels good. The seats are comfortable, offer lateral support and long-distance comfort. Unlike in the Mercedes EQS, the side and rear windows can also be shaded at the push of a button. At temperatures above 30 degrees in the Monterey region, this is not uncomfortable. What is more annoying is that the panoramic roof, which is subject to a surcharge and which, depending on the model variant, also extends far over the heads of the front occupants, cannot be electrically covered. As generous as the legroom is, the head is tighter. If you want, you can listen to sound from 21 loudspeakers. The trunk volume is only 456 liters, but the front cargo space offers a further 202 liters.It remains to be seen whether the top speed and the high number of horsepower in Germany in 2022 will still be a selling point. Maybe after election day.Keywords: