Tesla makes an amazing car; or technically, three amazing cars, now that the Model 3 is set to enter production. But something else is coming up: Tesla’s former Vice President of Vehicle Engineering is now involved in another startup that might finally give Tesla the competition they want.
Peter Rawlinson, former VP of Vehicle Engineering at Tesla Motors Inc, now serves as Chief Technology Officer at startup car manufacturer Lucid. Prior to his work with Tesla, he had been Head of Vehicle Engineering at Corus Automotive, Chief Engineer at Lotus Cars, and Principle Engineer of Jaguar Cars. He brought all of this experience to Tesla, where he was Chief Engineer of the Model S team. And now, he brings his experience with both combustion and electric vehicles to Lucid. But what is Lucid?
Lucid Motors, formerly known as Atieva, was founded in 2007, and is based in Menlo Park, California. Basically, just across the bay from Fremont, where Tesla is busy making the Model S and the Model X, and soon, the Model 3. Lucid is currently in the process of raising USD$700,000,000 to construct the factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, which will be producing it’s first product – the super luxurious Lucid Air.
With an expected base price of USD$52,500, the Lucid Air is, on the outside, an interesting machine. With a range of 400 miles (643km), the Lucid Air is capable of delivering at least 1,000 horsepower, and has two interior configurations. If the exterior doesn’t sell you on this car, the performance should help. But if all else fails, wait until you see inside. The car is completely futuristic, and almost offensively luxurious. It also has the same level of tech that you can expect from any Tesla vehicle, right down to the enormous touchscreen in the center and the computer screen that serves as the instrument cluster.
The Lucid even comes complete with ‘automated driving systems’ (basically Autopilot, but they need to distinguish themselves from Tesla here) and fast-charging capability. I have a sneaking suspicion that they raided some of Tesla’s open-source patents here, which would explain the retractable door handles, flashy touchscreens, long-range, fast-charging capabilities, and extraordinary power output.
I hope so; in my opinion, Tesla’s patents have been way underused in the EV sector, a fact that is probably contributing to the delay on electric vehicle uptake. Most people still think that an EV has to sit for hours charging. It’s a good idea to charge slowly at home, since you most likely just leave your car alone in the garage all night anyway. But everybody who has done any research on Tesla knows that they have some very quick chargers that can add 270km to your car’s battery in just half an hour. We call them Superchargers for a reason, right?
Back to the Lucid Air, though. Besides that really awesome front row, with acres of screen real estate, what else does the Lucid offer? Well, the back row is the next thing to look at. Passengers in the Lucid Air can enjoy one of two interiors; the opulent four-seater Executive Seating, or the practical but still very comfortable-looking Packaging option. The name ‘packaging’ may sound questionable for a high-end family car, but there is no question as to how the Executive Seating option earned its name – just look at it!
That’s right – full reclining seats, a center-positioned infotainment system, food trays, and a shared arm-rest. The car also sports a 29-speaker surround sound audio system with active noise cancellation, aimed at reducing the road noise that tends to be more noticeable without a petrol engine to cover it up.
A glass roof offers natural lighting throughout the cabin, and allows passengers to fully appreciate the scenery of their environment, and the occasional avian calling card which may land on the car. Better keep that well-cleaned…
Apart from all of this technology and luxury, currently only shared with Tesla’s Model S (well, OK, not the Executive Seating, that’s all Lucid’s), it is inevitable that comparisons will be drawn not just by me, but also by the lucky people that get to review this car when it launches. Because if the photos are anything to go by, the Lucid Air will be an incredible vehicle.
So what are your thoughts on the Lucid Air? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.