Lucid CTO: Air Is Revolutionary Compared To Tesla Model S

3 months ago by Mark Kane 25

Lucid Motors has so far introduced alpha prototypes of its luxury “Air” electric car (priced from around ~$60,000 reportedly for a 240 miles car, with a 6 figure car netting some ~400 miles) to the public, and from that launching point is currently working on financing for its production plans in Casa Grande, Arizona, to deliver its first EVs in ~2 years time.

The first phase of a $700 million dollar project would see $240 million raised to get the facility off the ground, and enable a build rate of 20,000 copies per year.

Lucid Air features a large center touch screen

Peter Rawlinson is CTO of Lucid Motors, and is known as someone who is both competent and credible, as he was also the former chief engineer of the Tesla Model S. Not strange then that Lucid seems to have made Rawlinson the face of the company, and in turn speaks to the value of the new car.

From the New York Auto Show, Rawlinson calls the Lucid Air revolutionary compared to the Tesla Model S, but at the same time states that Tesla isn’t a direct competitor, because Lucid targets the luxury end of the market.

As it turns out, revolutionary these days means space.  Lots of space:

“It’s a revolutionary step forward because it’s a car that is more compact on the outside and much more spacious on the inside,” Rawlinson says (via Automotive News). “That’s what makes it revolutionary.”

“And this is not another Model S. This is the next-generation electric car. This is showing the true potential of electrification. No one’s done that.”

More space was apparently spared through using irregularly shaped battery pack:

“Rawlinson and Derek Jenkins, Lucid’s vice president for design, maximized interior space in the Air by working around an irregularly shaped battery pack that, for instance, does not intrude into rear foot space.”

As for the luxury angle, it is true that while Tesla has superior ranges to other EVs of today, and far greater performance than basically any vehicles on the market today, luxury finished really aren’t synonymous with the brand.

So if Lucid can get off the ground, and find that ~240 million to get into production, perhaps there is a niche there the start-up can fill.

source: Automotive News

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25 responses to "Lucid CTO: Air Is Revolutionary Compared To Tesla Model S"

  1. Tesla8 says:

    A Tesla Killer that might beat today’s Tesla numbers, two years from now… Wow I hope Tesla can complete.

    1. Cautious says:

      That’s a lot of money for a four seat luxury car. Good looking car but didn’t one of the people responsible for the Lucid come from Tesla??

      I’m still thankful that Elon Musk released all of Tesla’s patents so other manufacturers could use what Tesla knew/knows.

      1. Derek says:

        I think someone from Tesla is working with Lucid…oh wait, I’m certain of it, because unlike you, I actually read the article.

        1. V2 says:

          haha. always funnier when you think something and then you read it.

      2. Bill says:

        “Lot of money”…

        Not really….$60,000 is, with one exception, cheap for a 300 mile range car. And this interior looks sumptuous.

        My only question would be, in view of others past history, how reliable is the car?

        Of course, there has to be SOME quality in the car if it can go 211 miles per hour and not fall apart.

        Well done. And of course, the more the merrier it gets, the average price of this kind of car will come down because no one will be able to say they’ve cornered the market.

  2. Nix says:

    It is usually pretty common to design a future car that might be called “revolutionary” compared to cars currently in production for 5 years.

    ICE car makers have been making concept cars that fit that description for decades.

    But if Lucid can pull this off, all the better for EV’s. I hope they can make it work. It would be good to have more car makers who sell only EV’s/PHEV’s. Because most of the ICE car makers are actively lobbying the gov’t against EV’s (through their special interest lobbying groups).

  3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    If the Lucid Air is so great, then why is Lucid trying to ride the coat-tails of Tesla’s popularity by mentioning that company in its advertising?

    I wish Lucid much luck, and I hope the company succeeds. We need multiple players in the EV market, not just Tesla.

    But if the Lucid Air is that great, then it should be able to establish and stand on its own reputation, not use Tesla’s popularity as a crutch.

    1. Dav8or says:

      You hope they succeed and you would like to see more competitors making EVs, but admit it, you hope they all suck a little bit compared to a Tesla, right? What if the Lucid air does make the Model S look like a Nissan Leaf compared to a Tesla Model 3? Would you switch allegiance then? What if the Air is undeniably awesome?

      1. protomech says:

        > but admit it, you hope they all suck a little bit compared to a Tesla, right?

        No, because I’m more interested in “accelerating the advent of sustainable transportation” than I am in a particular company succeeding.

        To that end, the more strong competitors exist in the electric space, the better. If Tesla can’t make a conquest sale from a conventional gas luxury vehicle for whatever reason – waitlists, interiors, options, driving dynamics, etc – then Lucid Air may present a compelling option.

        However, it was incredibly unlikely that Tesla succeeded .. and now they have the first-mover advantage. Lucid will need to bring something truly special versus whatever Tesla and conventional manufacturers are shipping in the electric space in 2019.

        I wouldn’t bet on their success, but I wish them well.

    2. JIMJFOX says:

      Because the former Tesla ‘S’ designer now works for Lucid? It would be disingenuous NOT to mention that.

  4. MikeG says:

    Lucid’s specs can match the range of the Tesla, but range is just one metric of battery performance.

    Another one is recharge rate and here I think Lucid will fall short of Tesla, due to their irregularly shaped battery.

    This reminds me of the Tesla Roadster which won’t supercharge because its batteries are shoehorned in and this doesn’t provide optimum cooling necessary to support a high charge rate.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      DC charging requires a direct connection to the EV’s battery pack, bypassing the onboard charger which converts AC power to DC. The Roadster was built without any such connection, nor any provision for direct DC charging.

      Tesla’s battery pack TMS (Thermal Management System) uses liquid cooling to carry heat out of the battery pack. That’s certainly not limited by the overall shape of the pack; liquid heat transfer is going to happen in a boxy battery pack about as well as in a flat battery pack.

      If the Roadster had been built for DC fast charging, then it could certainly use a Supercharger. If the Roadster’s TMS has a more limited ability to handle waste heat than the Model S’s TMS, then that means the Roadster would have to charge at a slower rate, but it could still charge.

  5. Bret says:

    Wow, another Tesla Killer. Yaaaawwwwnnn!

    So, the Lucid Air is going to be more luxurious than the Model S because it has more rear foot space? I sure hope they can come up with a lot more than this if they hope to compete with Tesla.

    Good luck with that.

  6. James says:

    What a joke. The problem when making the iPhone killer is that you start out comparing yourself to the iPhone, as if it’s a static thing that can be passed. Faraday (I hate to call it this) Future showed its mule going faster than a Model S, but then a couple weeks later the Model S was already faster–and available. It’s always a mistake to compare yourself to someone else, because that’s a losing game.

    To me, the Lucid looks to be designed for crooked Chinese bureaucrats who sit in the back seat in luxury while someone drives them around. In the US, that’s where the kids and old relatives sit, save for a few rich ppl in NY, SF and LA.

    I’m all for competition, but build a factory first, then talk smack. Audi’s e-tron SUV is the closest thing I’ve seen to competition for Tesla so far, and they have cash, assembly lines, and fully-functioning supply chains.

    1. JIMJFOX says:

      Quite a few meritless assumptions. Well done!

  7. G2 says:

    As EM likes to say- “The more the merrier”.

    Besides, there is no way Tesla can build enough EVs to replace all the ICE cars built annually.

    So, lets hope that LUCID is legit (unlike Faraday) and a few other good manufactures come along.

    Long live the revolution!!

  8. Don Zenga says:

    People want more functional spacious vehicles and certainly wagons are spacious and that’s why Tesla Model-S captured a big chunk of the market. Please note that Model-S has not only 26 cu. ft. of Trunk space, but also 5 cu. ft. of Frunk (Frontal Trunk) space.

    And this year, Buick Regal Sedan will be phased out and replaced by a Hatch and a Wagon. And today Jaguar has announced XF wagon.

    While this Lucid Air can sell on its own against similar sedans from other luxury automakers, it will not grab any market from Tesla Model-S.

    But for any new electric vehicle, Model-S is the Benchmark.

  9. Someone out there says:

    Pretty nice actually but I expect it to be significantly more expensive than the model S. It’s definitely a higher class vehicle than the model S.

  10. Jim Seko says:

    Lucid does not have a Supercharger network nor do they have enough money to invest in such a network. Having said that, I have a hunch Lucid air might be one of the first companies to take up Tesla on their offer to use the Supercharger network for a fee. What do you all think?

  11. Kenneth Nicholson says:

    Has anyone looked at Jaguar I-Pace SUV? Audi E-Tron and MB and Porsche the more EV manufacturers producing EV vehicle will benefit the consumers. I believe to save our planet all ICE vehicles like the dinosaur will be extinct in 20 years.

  12. CDAVIS says:

    Peter Rawlinson is CTO of Lucid Motors said:
    “…This is showing the true potential of electrification. No one’s done that….”
    ——-

    What a joker that Rawlinson.

    He pretending that his former employer Tesla has not already long ago beat Lucid Motors to the punch of proving the potential of electrification…and those cars unlike Lucid Air are in mass production today.

  13. Chris O says:

    If Lucid can deliver a more luxurious and spacious car for less money than Tesla than I’m sure it will have a bright future.

    The trick would be to deliver on such promises. The sort of gross margins on Model S don’t suggest one could increase complexity (luxury) and decrease price at the same time and still make any money.

  14. Carmi T says:

    The main issue here is that Lucid does not need $240 million or $700 million, they need at least $3 billion to have a small chance here. Tesla is blowing through an estimated $2-2.5 billion in the first two quarters of 2017 getting the Model 3 launched.

    There is just no compelling story where Lucid launches this car into the teeth of Tesla and other high end cars from Audi, Porsche, and more and sells enough cars at a high enough margin to launch their second car and so on. The traditional car companies will have the benefit of making $20,000 per car in zero emission tax credits, and Tesla will have lower cost batteries, and everyone else will pay less for basically every other part in the car. On top of that, there are limited numbers of buyers in the market for cars costing $60-100,000 and that space for EVs will be extremely crowded in 2019.

    I just cannot see the path to success, unless their car is CLEARLY superior to anything else available at the price, and this is a huge ask for a new start-up making cars in a brand new factory.

    Unless Lucid can give us a reasonable seeming story for how they actually have a path to success, the wallets will likely remain closed.

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