Lucid Motors’ VP Of Design Discusses Air

2 months ago by Steven Loveday 9

Lucid Air

Lucid Air

NextMobility gets exclusive one-on-one time to chat with Derek Jenkins, the mind behind the design of the stunning Lucid Air.

Lucid came to the scene way back in 2007, formerly known as Atieva, but Jenkins didn’t join the team until 2015, and that’s when the Lucid Air was born.

Jenkins brought with him about 25 years of design expertise from the likes of Mazda, Volkswagen, and Audi. He left his position of Director of Design at Mazda to move to Lucid. He was head of the design teams associated with the 2016 Mazda Miata, and the Mazda6, among others. He admitted:

Another bridge crossed by the Lucid Air

“I had been in the industry designing cars for over 20 years… I was sensing a lot of change in the horizon towards electrification; I witnessed the success at Tesla… It was just too attractive to pass up.”

There has yet to come a U.S.-based electric vehicle startup (Tesla competitor/Tesla killer … whatever people want to call it) as promising or convincing as Tesla. Others have quickly proven what a daunting task it can be, but Lucid seems to be taking its time, doing it the “right way,” and appears to have what it takes to come out on the other side … successful.

Thus far, Lucid has raised about $130 million, and the automaker is in the midst of a Series D round of funding to begin work on a portion of its $700 million Casa Grande, Arizona automotive assembly plant. Jenkins begins:

“From the beginning, we were very much focused on a luxury product; we felt like there is still a big opportunity at that end of the market. There was a lot of open opportunity to do something that is more forward-facing and less based on tradition, that is kind of the foundation.”

Riding in the back of a Lucid Air in San Francisco

Lucid’s “claim to fame” – aside from extraordinary opulence – is said to be its effective methods of making the motors, transmission, differential, and battery ultra-compact, and/or situated in such a way that it allows for class-leading space.

Jenkins explained that unlike Tesla’s configuration, the battery pack in not place in a skateboard-like setup, but instead it uses two separate modules and is double-stacked in some areas. The name ‘Air’ sheds light on the fact that the vehicle is made to be spacious, open, and airy.

Let’s take a look at what else Jenkins had to share:

“We’re designing the interior for a dual purpose. I look at that center screen to be used way more in autonomous mode so I can dive into my email or watch TV. You need to create something that someone can be more relaxed in autonomous mode.”

Lucid Air Interior

Lucid isn’t focusing its energies on autonomy at this point, but is assuring that the car is equipped and designed appropriately. However, Jenkins said that Lucid decided against options like a fold-away steering wheel.

“It’s hard to say whether we will reach full level 5 autonomy in the life cycle of this vehicle.”

“We still want the Air to be an amazing driving vehicle, something thoroughly enjoyable to drive and feel physically connected to the car.”

Lucid Air Clear Rooftop

Jenkins pointed out that having a small team, and not aiming to be a “Tesla killer” has been advantageous for Lucid. The automaker wants to build something better, and in small batches.

“It’s a huge advantage, it’s really much more of a form and function exercise, for me as a designer. At the big companies, you are really styling over a given architecture. Here we are actually working together to create a great piece of design and engineering. That’s a big difference.”

“This is the redefinition of luxury in a real modern sense.”

The Air’s anticipated launch date is set for 2019.

Gallery (below): Lucid Air

Source: NextMobility via Teslarati

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9 responses to "Lucid Motors’ VP Of Design Discusses Air"

  1. Michael Will says:

    The location of the screen makes no sense if to be used while the car does the autonomous driving. It’s in an even worse position for that compared to a tesla model S or X where the screen does not have some legacy vents protruding out over it.

    I hope they succeed in making an affordable yet luxurious alternative to tesla, but so far there is no battery factory and no car factory.

    Best of luck.

  2. Boris says:

    I think Lucid could have a great product but $$$ will be difficult to raise, which will one day make it a great takeover target for the likes of Ford, GM or perhaps a tech company…

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      With Tesla at $50 billion and still climbing I don’t see Lucid having any trouble raising money.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Well, Lucid has an attractive exterior design (even if the interior seems to be aimed solely at rich Chinese), a prototype one can actually ride in, and a deal with the State of Arizona to build an auto assembly plant.

        Lucid certainly appears to be much more the “real deal” than an “all hat and no cattle” company like Faraday Future. Now let’s see if Lucid can follow through and become a successful auto maker. Here’s hoping that they can get the funding they need to actually build a factory and build cars.

  3. James says:

    Lucid Motors’ VP Of Photoshop should better Discuss Air

  4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    It’s certainly an attractive design. But it seems pretty clearly to be aimed only at rich Chinese who want to recline in a roomy back seat while their chauffeur drives, so personally it doesn’t hold much interest for me.

    And altho I don’t want to dis this company — I wish it every success — let’s not forget that at the moment, the car is nothing but virtual reality vaporware. Let’s see if Lucid can get the financing together to actually build an auto assembly plant, or buy an existing one.

  5. Mike I says:

    I like Lucid Air. It is not burdened with Musk’s SpaceX, which is Nasa $ Musk fraud. Hope Lucid will come up with a smaller version for le$$

    1. Timmy says:

      Garbage comment. Ok, maybe not what you hope for at the end. Others hope so, too, I suppose.

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